What is a Hemifacial Spasm?
A hemifacial spasm is a nervous system disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions on one side of your face. This occurs in both men and women, but primarily affects middle-aged and elderly women.
What are Hemifacial Spasms Caused By?
There are three causes of hemifacial spasm. The first is by a blood vessel that is touching or pressing on a facial nerve. The second can be due to a facial nerve injury or tumor. The third being insidious onset.
Signs and Symptoms of Hemifacial Spasms
The first presented symptom may be intermittent twitching of the eyelid muscle causing the eye to shut completely due to the muscle contractions. The spasm may spread to involve the muscles of the lower side of the face, pulling the mouth to one side, and even to all of one side of the face.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Hemifacial Spasms
A physical examination will be done to diagnose you with hemifacial spasm. Imaging may be necessary to determine the cause of your condition as well as to help with the development of the best treatment plan for you.
The radio waves created by an MRI will create detailed images of your head to help determine your cause. Contrast dye may be injected into your blood vessel to look for abnormal blood vessels aggravating the facial nerve. Conservative treatment for hemifacial spasm includes botulinum injections and oral medication. An injection of Botox into the affected facial muscle may temporarily paralyze them to decrease the amount of twitching, these would be done every few months. Oral medications like an anticonvulsant drugs can also help to relieve the facial twitching.
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