Hemifacial spasm is a neuromuscular disorder that causes frequent involuntary contractions to occur in the muscles on one side of the face.
Hemifacial spasm doesn't have a specific cause. It may occur as a result of:
Muscles of the Face
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Hemifacial spasm is more common in middle-aged and elderly women. It is also more common in Asians.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
Your doctor may recommend antiseizure medications to help relieve symptoms.
Injecting botulinum toxin 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
Alexander GE, Moses H. Carbamazepine for hemifacial spasm. Neurology . 1982;32:286-287.
Defazio G, Martino D, Aniello MS, et al. Influence of age on the association between primary hemifacial spasm and arterial hypertension. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry . 2003;74:979-981.
Digre K, Corbett JJ. Hemifacial spasm: differential diagnosis, mechanism, and treatment. Adv Neurol . 1988;49:151-176.
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Hemifacial spasm. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Accessed July 11, 2013.
Hemifacial spasm information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/hemifacial_spasm/hemifacial_spasm.htm . Updated October 11, 2011. Accessed July 11, 2013.
DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : 2007 safety alerts for drugs, biologics, medical devices, and dietary supplements: Carbamazepine (marketed as Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol and generics). Medwatch. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/safety/2007/safety07.htm#carbamazepine .
Last reviewed July 2013 by Rimas Lukas, MD; Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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