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Cranial Nerves

Facial Sensation

February 15th, 2021


  • How to Elicit

  • Using a piece of cotton wool, lightly touch the patient's face over the three trigeminal areas of innervation, moving from side to side.
  • Causes of Reduced Facial Sensation

  • CNS lesion (cortical, thalamic or brainstem) - ischaemia, tumour, haemorrhage
  • Peripheral nerve lesion - trauma, tumour, ICA aneurysm, cavernous sinus thrombosis, SLE
  • Interpretation

  • Loss in the distribution of a single branch (V1 / V2 / V3) - suggests a peripheral nerve lesion
  • Reduced sensation on one side in all branches - suggests a contralateral sensory cortical or thalamic lesion, or an ipsilateral brainstem lesion
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