The classification into peripheral or central facial nerve paralysis is fundamental in medicine and important for understanding pathologies of the facial nerve. The distinction is of great clinical importance.
Central facial paralysis occurs when the source of paralysis lies in the brain. Due to the functional fiber arrangement and its course, central paralysis of the facial nerve is associated with preserved frown function and partially preserved lid closure. Strokes and brain tumors are common causes.
Peripheral facial paralysis occurs when the facial nerve is damaged in its course outside the brain. The extent of the paralysis depends on how far peripheral the damage is and can cause complete or incomplete facial paralysis.