Hemi Facial Spasm
WHAT IS HEMIFACIAL SPASM?
Hemifacial spasm is a neuromuscular disorder characterize by frequent involuntary contractions of the facial muscles. The disorder is typically a vascular compression condition, where an abnormally shaped blood vessel or benign (non-cancerous) tumor is responsible is applying pressure on the seventh cranial nerve (VIIth). This pressure causes the nerve to fire intermittently on its own, causing the involuntary facial spasms.
WHO GETS HEMIFACIAL SPASM?
Hemifacial spasm occurs equally between both men and women, however in women, it more frequently affects those in middle age or later.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HEMIFACIAL SPASM?
Hemifacial spasm generally begins with a twitching eyelid muscle that can lead to a forced closure of the eye. The spasm can spread to lower face muscles, which can cause the mouth to be pulled to one side. Eventually the spasms may involve all of the muscles on one side of the face on nearly a continual basis.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR HEMIFACIAL SPASM?
Medical treatment of hemifacial spasm is can include injections of Botulinum Toxin (Botox) into the affected facial muscles. A surgical approach to treating hemifacial spasm involves Microvascular Decompression (MVD). In some cases, medical therapy in the form of oral medication can improve or alleviate symptoms.
Hemifacial spasms require a comprehensive medical examination and specialty care from an Otologist, who is an otolaryngologist (ENT) who has undergone two additional years of training and specializes in issues related to hearing nerves only. With appropriate medical treatment and therapy, individuals with hemifacial spasm can make a partial or even full recovery.
Click here to make an appointment with the California Ear Institute to consult with one of our board certified Otologists regarding your condition.