Hemifacial spasms occur due to involuntary muscle contractions on only one side of the face. These spasms generally begin with occasional twitching of the eyelid that might, in some severe situations, lead to complete closure of the eye that has been affected. The muscle spasms sometimes continue to reach the lower part of the face, and cause spasms like the sideways pulling at the corner of the mouth. Depending on the severity of the condition, every muscle on the affected side might start experiencing frequent spasms over a period of time.
Hemifacial Spasms – Causes and Treatment
- Causes of Hemifacial spasms: Hemifacial spasms are most commonly caused by too much pressure on a facial nerve where it meets the brainstem. In some cases, the twitching disorder might also be caused due to the presence of a tumor in the region. The movements in the facial muscles—such as the movements of the eyebrows, mouth, eyes, and lips—are controlled by the facial nerve, which is basically a motor nerve. This nerve originates from the brain stem and exits the skull in the form of five branches. Hence, hemifacial spasms can be caused by injury to this facial nerve, or due to the presence of a tumor, or a blood vessel that might be putting pressure on the nerve. The average age of onset of hemifacial spasms is 44 years. Women are slightly more at the risk of suffering from these spasms.
- Treatment: There are mainly three ways of treating hemifacial spasms, depending on the cause and the severity of the case. Some treatments might just involve anti-convulsant medicines to stop the firing or twitching of the nerves. Doctors might also prescribe some muscle relaxants as well. These medications can take care of the less severe occurrences of the spasms, for the more severe ones; doctors might apply botox injections to the affected muscles. The injections generally take effect within 3 days and lasts till 3 months. When all else fails, doctors resort to surgery to relieve the nerve compression, thus separating the blood vessel and the facial nerve to let it function normally.
Want Help With Hemifacial Spasms? Contact Texas Neurosurgery, LLP
If you would like a consultation regarding hemifacial spasms, contact Texas Neurosurgery, LLP. You may also call us at 214-823-2052 or you can visit any of our offices at Baylor Dallas or Methodist Pavilion I.