Just Bieber may have to wait up to six months for his facial paralysis to fully subside, with doctors warning that Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which he’s diagnosed with, could also cause hearing loss.
Bieber, 28, revealed his diagnosis on Friday, saying the right side of his face was paralyzed leaving him unable to blink, smile or move a nostril on this side. He has since shelved dates on his world tour.
In a video posted to Instagram, he said: ‘It will go back to normal — it’s just time and we don’t know how much time it is going to be.
‘But it is going to be ok I hope. And I trust God and I trust that this is all for a reason and… I am not sure what that is right now but in the meantime I am going to get rest.’
Dr Josh Rosenberg, a facial plastic surgeon at New York City’s Mount Sinai medical center, told DailyMail.com that within three to six months patients tend to have a good sense of how well recovered they are.
About five in 100,000 people develop Ramsay Hunt syndrome in the U.S. every year, according to the National Organization for Rare Diseases.
Dr Nina Lu, a facial paralysis expert at the University of Washington, explained that it could take months for the singer to recover. However, she added that the paralysis was unlikely to be permanent — with about seven in 10 patients normally making a full recovery.
Both medics pointed out, however, that owing to the Bieber’s young age his recovery could well take just a few weeks.
Ramsay Hunt syndrome occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox in children and shingles in adults — which lingers in cells for years — becomes re-activated and inflames the facial nerves.
It was not clear what triggered the flare-up but stress, a weakened immune system and other underlying medical issues were all suggested as a possible cause.
The condition threatens to throw the final stretch of the U.S. part of his Justice World Tour — delayed for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic — into jeopardy, as well as dates in Europe and South America.
Justin Bieber revealed on Friday that the right side of his face was paralyzed due to Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which is triggered by the reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox. Doctors warned today that the condition could last for months
Dr Nina Lu, a facial paralysis expert at Washington University, said it could take a few months for the singer to recover. Dr Josh Rosenburg, a facial plastic surgeon at New York City’s Mount Sinai hospita, warned not all patients make a full recovery
Speaking to DailyMail.com, Rosenberg said: ‘I would give [Justin] a couple of months, but people can really surprise you — especially young people.
‘He is young, diagnosed early, and treated quickly — which is a good sign.’
He added: ‘From three to six months — possibly up to a year — [patients] will get some sense of how much movement they have gotten back.
Ramsay Hunt syndrome is trigged by the same virus that causes chickenpox in children
Ramsay Hunt syndrome is triggered when the virus that causes chickenpox in children becomes reactivated and leads to inflammation and irritation on the facial nerves.
It is not clear what causes this, but the virus is thought to become re-acivated due to a weakened immune system. This can also be triggered by stress.
Most patients get back all their movement within a few weeks to months.
But in some cases it may lead to a permanent reduction in movement.
Treatment involves anti-virals and steroids.
Some doctors may also recommend facial exercises, although there is little evidence whether this works.
About five in 100,000 Americans develop this syndrome annually.
Source: National Organization for Rare Diseases.
‘Some patients get back full movement, but some get little, and others get [uncontrolled movement]. So that’s when someone goes to move their mouth their eyes close as well. Muscles that shouldn’t contract contract as well.’
Lu said: ‘Recovery times for this illness can vary.
‘Sometimes it is quite rapid — so over the course of weeks — and sometimes it can take months really.’
She warned sufferers sometimes develop synkinensis due to the condition, when the muscles of the face — such as the eyelids — can contract uncontrollably.
It was also quite common to experience a ‘temporary’ loss of hearing and changes to the voicebox, she added.
Asked whether a patient would make a full recovery, she said: ‘To normal or near normal is about 70 percent. In the other 30 per cent is partial synkinensis.’
Bieber revealed the diagnosis to fans on Friday in a video, after shelving several tour dates on Tuesday.
In the clip, he said the right side of his face was paralyzed and no longer able to smile, blink or move its nostril.
It was not clear when the singer first developed the condition, although it was likely he was diagnosed early.
He is currently receiving anti-viral drugs to treat the condition, and performing facial exercises.
On Saturday his 25-year-old wife Hailey showed support for the singer, writing on her Instagram story next to a picture of Bieber: ‘I love u baby’.
The singer began his tour on February 18, 2022, after postponing it for two years due to the emergence of the virus.
This month he was due to perform at his final venues in the United States — with the last show in Inglewood, California — before flying onwards to Europe for the second leg of the tour.
It is not due to finish until March next year with a performance in Krakow, Poland.
Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the nerve controlling facial expressions becoming inflamed after the virus that causes chickenpox in children and shingles in adults is re-activated.
This nerve travels through a ‘tunnel’ of bone between the brain and the face which limits the blood supply to the inflamed nerve, leading to the facial paralysis.
Hailey Bieber showed love for her husband Justin after the singer revealed his Ramsay Hunt syndrome diagnosis (pictured together in April)
The model, 25, wrote ‘I love u baby’ on her Instagram Story while re-sharing a video Justin, 28, uploaded to his Instagram page explaining his diagnosis
Symptoms include facial paralysis, blistering rashes and pain in the face and ears.
Patients may also experience changes in hearing, such as sounds being louder in one ear than the other or developing tinnitus — a ringing in the ears — or even deafness.
Treatment for the infection typically involves taking anti-viral medication or steroids.
Physical therapy can also be used with the muscles, although it is not typically recommended.
Botox treatments could also be offered if problems persist up to six months later, and surgery from a year after if the patient does not recover.