Abnormal Facial Expressions: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Abnormal facial expressions can occur as a result of conditions that damage the nerves to the face, such as Bell's palsy or facial paralysis. Damage to the brain, such as with stroke or transient ischemic attack, can also cause impaired movement, including changes in facial expressions. Patients with a number of psychiatric conditions may display abnormal facial expressions, particularly the psychotic disorders, in which an individual's sense of reality is impaired. Facial tics, such as those that occur in Tourette syndrome, are one form of abnormal facial expressions.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/16/2018

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