Singer Justin Bieber first posted a video on June 10 sharing an update on his health, stating that he was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome and is unable to move parts of his face (Dr. Carniol does not have specific knowledge of Bieber’s case or his treatment plan.)
“As you can see, this eye is not blinking. I can’t smile on this side of my face. This nostril will not move. So there’s full paralysis on the side of my face,” Bieber said in a video posted on Instagram. However, not everyone makes a full recovery from Ramsay Hunt, and recovery can take months or even years.
In fact, full recovery tends to occur in only about 80 percent of Ramsay-Hunt patients.
Ramsay Hunt tends to be “a bit more impactful” than Bell’s palsy — a similar disorder that causes facial paralysis, as well as lesions — and recovery is often slower. With Bell’s palsy, only about 10 percent of patients diagnosed with it suffer from residual issues post-recovery.
What does treatment for Ramsay Hunt include?
In the short term, steroids may be prescribed to reduce swelling and inflammation caused by Ramsay Hunt. Plus, antiviral medication and pain medication may be prescribed as needed. High doses of steroids early on, as well as antiviral medication, can help to lessen long-term effects and aid in recovery.
Additionally, ointment can help to moisturize the eye. Taping the eye shut may also help maintain lubrication in the eye if the patient is unable to blink due to their symptoms.
Depending on the severity of Bieber’s facial paralysis, Botox can help “even out” the appearance of facial muscles in the short term.
Oftentimes, Ramsay-Hunt patients go to physical therapy to help with facial muscle rehabilitation.
How does Botox help facial paralysis?
Botox may also lessen synkinesis, or unwanted contractions of the muscles of the face during attempted movement. Sometimes, patients may receive filler to even out lip, cheek, or facial muscles damaged by Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
Can you make a full recovery from Ramsay Hunt syndrome?
Some Ramsay-Hunt patients will fully recover in a few weeks. Other patients may take months or even years to regain full muscle movement. For now, Bieber assured fans that he is “gonna get better” and that he was doing “facial exercises to get my face back to normal.”