What is Hemifacial Spasm?
Hemifacial spasm is an involuntary contraction of the muscles on one side of the face. Other involuntary movements can occur with hemifacial spasm such as forceful opening of the jaw, retraction of the lips, or protrusion of the tongue. Initial symptoms of this disease are twitches in the eyelid, which can eventually lead to the eye being closed shut all the time. It can then spread to the rest of the muscles in the bottom portion of the face. It may cause the mouth to stick out. Eventually, all muscles of the face may twitch all of the time.
Who gets Hemifacial Spasm?
Hemifacial spasm occurs in both men and women. However, it is more likely to affect older women. Within the USA, it affects 8 in 100,000 men and 15 in 100,000 women. Also, hemifacial spasm seems to occur more on the left side of the face than the right.
How is Hemifacial Spasm diagnosed?
Diagnosis starts with a neurological exam. EMGs are also performed to diagnose this disease.
How is Hemifacial Spasm treated?
Several medications have been used to treat this problem with some success. Botulinum toxin injections have been helpful in management. However, the injections give temporary relief and need to be repeated every 3-4 months. Surgery is also a treatment option.