Incidence and Management of Facial Paralysis After Skull Base Trauma, an Administrative Database Study

Nneoma S. Wamkpah, Dorina Kallogjeri, Alison K. Snyder-Warwick, Joanna L. Buss, Nedim Durakovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective Report the incidence of and treatment patterns for facial nerve palsy after skull base fracture. Study Design Retrospective cohort study. Setting IBM MarketScan Commercial Database (2006-2019). Patients Human subjects with skull base fracture, per International Classification of Diseases - 9th and 10th Revisions - Clinical Modification diagnosis codes. Main Outcome Measures The primary outcomes were the incidence and median time to facial nerve palsy diagnosis within 30 days of skull base fracture. Secondary outcomes were treatments (corticosteroids, antivirals, facial nerve decompression, botulinum toxin, and facial reanimation), demographics, and rates of hearing loss, vertigo, tympanic membrane rupture, cerebrospinal fluid leak, comorbidities, and loss of consciousness. Results The 30-day incidence of facial nerve palsy after skull base trauma was 1.0% (738 of 72,273 patients). The median (95% confidence interval [CI]) time to diagnosis was 6 (6-7) days, and only 22.9% were diagnosed within 1 day. There were significantly higher rates (risk difference, 95% CI) of hearing loss (26%, 22-29%), tympanic membrane rupture (6.3%, 4.5-8.1%), cerebrospinal fluid leak (6.4%, 4.5-8.3%), comorbidity (14%, 10.4-17.6%), and loss of consciousness (24.3%, 20.7-27.9%). Loss of consciousness was associated with longer median (95% CI) time to facial nerve palsy diagnosis: 10 (9-10) days. Corticosteroids were the most common treatment but only reported for less than one-third of patients. Only eight patients underwent facial nerve decompression. Conclusions Facial nerve palsy after skull base fracture is associated with higher comorbidity, and the diagnosis is often delayed. Few patients were treated with surgery, and there are inconsistencies in the types and timing of treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1180-E1186
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022


  • Facial nerve
  • Facial nerve decompression
  • Facial paralysis treatment
  • Skull base fracture
  • Traumatic facial paralysis


Dive into the research topics of 'Incidence and Management of Facial Paralysis After Skull Base Trauma, an Administrative Database Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this