Sudden onset facial palsy is a medical emergency and requires urgent assessment by a physician to rule out potentially life threatening conditions.
Cavernous Brainstem Hemangioma
There are a number of brain tumors whose treatment can result in facial weakness because to remove the tumor, the segment of brain that houses the origin of the facial nerve or its pathway either has to be sacrificed, or is deprived of its blood supply. These tumors include malignant medulloblastomas, pilocytic astrocytomas, and Cavernous Brainstem Hemangiomas, to name a few. Certain kinds of meningiomas also cause the same problem. Because most of the time the facial nerve itself is intact, there are ways to provide innervation to the distal facial nerve through other sources, so if patients awaken from brain surgery with facial weakness, and recovery is not apparent within a few months, early referral to a facial reanimation specialist is critically important.
Other types of benign head and neck tumors, like lymphangiomas, vascular anomalies and birthmarks, and glomus tumors, can also affect facial nerve function. Each of these tumors can have a distinct relationship to the facial nerve, and the prognosis for recovery is different depending upon exactly what is required in treatment of the primary tumor. Therefore, one cannot generalize about the proper care for facial weakness in any of these conditions, but it is essential to have the proper team who is intimately familiar with the pathophysiology and natural history of these diseases, so that the right care plan can be developed.