Original Articles: PDF OnlyDumitru Daniel MD; Walsh, Nicolas E. MD; Porter, Leslie D. MDAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: August 1988 - p 137-144 Free Abstract Facial nerve paralysis is the most common mononeuropathy and idiopathic facial paralysis (Bell's palsy) the most common seventh nerve disease electromyographers may be asked to evaluate. The electrophysiologic method of choice to assess the facial nerve is side-to-side evoked amplitude comparison with the affected side expressed as a percentage of the nonaffected side. This examination should be performed on days 3, 5, 7, 9,11 and 13 after onset of paralysis. If the percentage of surviving axons falls below 10% within the first 14 days, an incomplete recovery is suggested. Electromyography may assist in prognosticating a functional return, determining neural conduction across the site of injury and following reinervation in the recovery period. The persistence or early return of an absent R1 component of the blink reflex may qualitatively suggest a satisfactory functional outcome in facial paralysis. Supramaximally exciting the facial nerve at the stylomastoid foramen and comparing the clinical response on the affected and nonaffected side, maximum stimulation test, can also predict eventual seventh nerve return. Observing a minimal twitch, utilizing the nerve excitability test or measuring the facial nerve latency have yielded poor correlations with functional return and are of limited usefulness in the prognostication of acute facial palsies. Trigeminal somatosensory evoked potentials can be employed to evaluate the status of the trigeminal nerve as approximately 50% of patients with Bell's palsy also have lesions involving the fifth nerve. Side-to-side amplitude comparison and electromyography are the two most valuable electrophysiologic methods of assessing facial nerve functioning. © Williams & Wilkins 1988. All Rights Reserved.