- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Mona Lisa syndrome

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Facial muscle contracture that develops after Bell’s palsy when the facial nerves has undergone partial wallerian degeneration and has regenerated, manifested by a Mona Lisa-like smile. The accompanying synkinesis would explain many of the known facts surrounding the painting and is a classic example of Leonardo da Vinci as the compulsive anatomist who combined art and science.

See also Bells paralysis, a palsy of facial muscles, under Sir Charles Bell, Scottish anatomist, surgeon, and physiologist, 1774-1842.


  • K. K. Adour:
    Mona Lisa syndrome: solving the enigma of the Gioconda smile.
    Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology, March 1989, 89 (3): 196-199.

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