What you need to know about Justin Bieber’s facial paralysis

Justin Bieber revealed last Friday that he has a rare neurological condition that paralyzes half of his face. The condition is called Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

Justin Bieber Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
“As you can probably see from my face, I have this syndrome called Ramsay Hunt syndrome … And it is from this virus that attacks the nerve in my ear and my facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis.”

 the singer informed fans in a video posted on TikTok and his other social media platforms.

@justinbieberIMPORTANT PLEASE WATCH. I love you guys and keep me in your prayers♬ original sound – Justin Bieber

In the U.S., Ramsay Hunt Syndrome affects 5 out of every 100,000 people with atraumatic peripheral facial paralysis, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. So now you might be wondering…

What is Ramsey syndrome?

While Bell’s palsy is the most commonly known cause of facial paralysis, there are actually a number of facial palsy variants, Ramsay Hunt Syndrome (RHS) is a type of facial palsy. RHS is a shingles complication that leads to hearing loss on the affected side compromising the facial nerve.

What Causes Ramsey Hunt Syndrome?

This infection is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox in children and shingles in older adults. Patients have generally been prescribed very high doses of antiviral medications to combat the virus itself.

What are the symptoms of Ramsey Hunt Syndrome?

Ramsay Hunt syndrome manifests itself in two main ways, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Painful, red rashes with fluid-filled blisters on, in, and around the ear
  • Paralysis of the facial muscles on the same side as the affected ear

Typically, the rash and facial paralysis occur at the same time; however, sometimes one can occur before the other, and at other times the rash does not appear.

You may also experience the following symptoms if you have Ramsay Hunt syndrome:

  • Ear pain
  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Difficulty closing one eye
  • A sensation of spinning or moving (vertigo)
  • A change in taste perception or loss of taste
  • Dry mouth and eyes

Is Ramsey Hunt syndrome the same as Bell’s palsy?

Many people confuse Ramsay Hunt Syndrome with Bell’s palsy, but they are not the same.

Bell’s palsy is defined as a temporary weakness or lack of movement on one side of the face. It takes most people at least nine months to recover from facial weakness.

However, there is a major difference between Ramsay Hunt Syndrome and Bell’s palsy is that RHS is caused by a virus. And the reason for the paralysis in Bell’s palsy is unknown.

Is there treatment for Ramsey Hunt Syndrome?

Patients with Ramsay Hunt syndrome are treated with antiviral medication as well as physical therapy but may want complementary treatment for facial paralysis in addition to medications and other treatments.

Ocular damage due to altered blinking reflex is one of the most serious dangers of facial paralysis. Individuals suffering from facial paralysis should use artificial tears on a regular basis.

Cosmetic surgery is required to insert small weights in the upper eyelids to help them close properly. Brow lifts may also be effective for those who have a permanent facial paralysis. You should consult your doctor in order to choose the right treatment for you.

Can Botox® help with Bells Palsey or Ramsey Hunt Syndrome?

One effective option for additional treatment is Botox® injections that can relax muscles to achieve a more balanced appearance on the face while recovering from this viral infection.

Botulinum toxin injections (Botox®) are becoming more common in facial paralysis treatments. Botox® is well-known for its use as an anti-aging treatment, but it also helps those with facial paralysis who have involuntary facial muscle spasms.

Botox® works by relaxing the healthy muscles, which improves facial asymmetry caused by drooping on the affected side . In addition, a minimally invasive method can restore facial symmetry in conjunction with physical therapy.

The team of Doctors at Vida have experience treating various forms of facial paralysis and can offer options to reduce the facial aesthetic and functional symptoms of this condition.  Dr. Fuentes gives a better understanding of this condition, as well as Bell’s Palsy. Treatments for facial aesthetics associated with this condition could include fillers or botox injections to relax the face.

If you believe you have symptoms related to facial paralysis first seek medical attention. If you have already been diagnosed with Ramsey syndrome, Bell’s palsy, or any other type of facial paralysis please contact us so the team of Doctors at VIDA Wellness and Beauty can help treat symptoms of facial paralysis and help you.

Dr. Juan Carlos Fuentes

Dr. Juan Carlos Fuentes, MD Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon practicing at VIDA clinic Tijuana. Dr. Fuentes served as Chief of Residents in Plastic Surgery in Guadalajara. His postgraduate fellowship training was also completed at the University of California at Irvine and at Texas University. Specializes in Facial Rejuvenation, Rhinoplasty, Botox & Facial Fillers, Brow Lift, Blepharoplasty, Facial Enhancement and more. He is a member of the Mexican Association of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery (A.M.C.P.E.R.), American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (A.S.A.P.S.), San Diego International Plastic Surgery Society, Tijuana Medical Association, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (I.S.A.P.S.) and The Rhinoplasty Society.