Emma Sams as Holly Sutton

General Hospital alum suffering from facial paralysis disorder.

Soaps.com wishes General Hospital’s Emma Samms (Port Charles’ Holly Sutton) well after the actress revealed online that she’s been suffering from Bell’s Palsy. Samms posted a photo of herself and about her diagnosis on Twitter saying, “So. For the past week I’ve had a thing called Bell’s Palsy. I have a wonky smile, am in slight danger of dribbling a cup of tea and can’t close my eye. Not the end of the world. Trying to style it out with the eyepatch.”

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According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bell’s Palsy is a form of temporary facial paralysis resulting from damage or trauma to the facial nerves. The facial nerve, also called the 7th cranial nerve, directs the muscles on one side of the face, including those that control eye blinking, smiling and frowning. The nerve also carries nerve impulses to the tear glands, the saliva glands, and the muscles of a small bone in the middle of the ear called the stapes. Additionally it transmits taste sensations from the tongue. When Bell’s Palsy occurs, the function of the facial nerve is disrupted, resulting in an interruption in the messages the brain sends to the facial muscles, leading to facial weakness or paralysis. In most cases the condition is temporary and only affects one side of the face. It is the most common cause of facial paralysis and is not related to stroke. Bell’s Palsy is named for Sir Charles Bell, a 19th century Scottish surgeon who described the facial nerve and its connection to the condition.

Emma Samms joined GH in 1982 and has appeared on and off over the years as agent Holly Sutton. Samms returned to GH in 2015 as part of Anthony Geary’s farewell storyline as Luke Spencer.

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Photo credit: Howard Wise/JPI

– Dustin Cushman