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Acupuncture good for bell's palsy



A best evidence topic in facial nerve surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was: in [patients with Bell's palsy], does [acupuncture] improve [facial nerve function and/or pain]? A total of 43 papers were identified using the reported search protocol, of which three articles represented the best available evidence to answer the clinical question. Two of these articles were review papers and together encompassed 13 primary articles. Publication details, type of study, patients studied, outcomes and results are tabulated. The two level 1 articles concluded that before firm conclusions can be drawn, better designed trials are required in order to establish whether acupuncture confers any benefit to patients with Bell's palsy. The level 2 randomised controlled trial (RCT) suggested that two methods of acupuncture were associated with significant improvements in pain in Bell's palsy, although the trial was poorly controlled and had risk of bias. Therefore, the clinical bottom line is that until well designed trials are able to clearly demonstrate a role for acupuncture in Bell's palsy, its efficacy should be considered to remain unproven.

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