• Temporal bone trauma;
  • facial paralysis;
  • craniocerebral trauma;
  • head injuries (closed);
  • systemic review;
  • Level of Evidence: 3a



To systematically review the existing literature on outcomes and management of facial paralysis resulting from intratemporal blunt trauma.

Study Design:

Systematic review of the literature.


Thirty-five articles met our inclusion criteria. Outcome variables analyzed included severity of paralysis, time of onset of paralysis, surgical or nonsurgical management, steroid use, and final facial nerve function.


All studies were classified as level 4 evidence as defined by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. There was marked variation in the quality of the studies with inconsistent outcome measures, diagnostic testing, and follow-up, thus ruling out a formal meta-analysis. In an exploratory pooling of data, 612 cases had sufficient follow-up and facial movement grading for some evaluation of trends. In 189 patients who were followed observationally, 66% achieved an outcome equivalent to House-Brackmann (HB) I, 25% achieving HB II-V, and two patients an HB VI score. Among 83 patients treated with steroids, 67% achieved HB I, 30% HB II-V, and no patients with HB VI. In 340 patients treated surgically, 23% achieved HB I postoperatively, 58% were graded as HB II-V, and 9% with HB grade VI postoperatively. No patient presenting with partial paralysis had an HB VI outcome.


The role of surgery versus nonsurgical interventions for this clinical entity remains inconclusive. Level 4 evidence studies predominate and are further hindered by poor description of outcome measures and incomplete data reporting. Exploratory pooling of data without formal meta-analysis suggests the need to compare any intervention to the natural course of healing, which overall appears to be favorable. Laryngoscope, 2010