Hemifacial spasm is a neuromuscular disorder that causes frequent involuntary contractions to occur in the muscles on one side of the face.
Hemifacial spasm is believed to be due in part to compression of the facial nerve where it meets the brainstem. The compression can be cause by:
The following factor increases your chance of developing hemifacial spasm:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include the following:
Hemifacial spasm is usually a chronic condition. Remission of symptoms, although possible, has only been noted to occur in less than 10% of patients.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
Injecting botulinum toxin (ie, Botox) into the affected muscles can stop eyelid spasm for several months. These injections must be repeated, usually several times a year. Botulinum toxin injections are the treatment of choice.
Microvascular decompression surgery repositions the blood vessel away from the nerve. This is successful in cases of hemifacial spasm where the cause is suspected to be a blood vessel compressing the facial nerve.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Organization for Rare Disorders
Canadian Movement Disorder Group
Hemifacial Spasm Association
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Last reviewed March 2013 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 03/15/2013