August 25, 2014

Steroid Injection Into the Ear May Help Bell's Palsy

Intratympanic steroid injections are typically performed for sudden nerve hearing loss. However, preliminary research suggests that it may also help resolve facial paralysis due to Bell's Palsy.

In this prospective, double-blinded, randomized study, one group of patients received standard treatment with oral steroids and antiviral medications whereas the experimental group received the same medications PLUS intratympanic steroid injection as well. (I should mention that antiviral medications has not been found to be helpful in the treatment of Bell's Palsy.)

Although complete recovery rate was the same for both groups, time to recovery was shorter and better in the injection group.

Now why would injecting a steroid into the ear theoretically help with facial paralysis?

It's because the nerve that governs facial movement goes through the ear!

Facial Nerve in Yellow. Image from

Watch a video showing steroid injection into the ear below.

Intratympanic Steroid Injection for Bell's Palsy: Preliminary Randomized Controlled Study. Otology & Neurotology: August 13, 2014. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000000505

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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