A clinical and electrophysiological study of 15 cases of cephalic tetanus is reported. This condition is a form of local tetanus which commonly follows an injury to the face or head. It is characterised by muscle paralysis which is maximal close to the site of injury, while spasm is evident at mroe distant sites. As muscle paralysis improves with time it is succeeded by spasm. It is argued that paralysis is due to high local concentrations of toxin in the brainstem while lesser concentrations cause spasm by abolishing inhibition. Electrophysiological studies indicate that paralysis is of lower motor neurone type with denervation potentials, hyperirritability, loss of motor units, and marginally increased distal latencies being the features recorded.
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