Hemifacial Spasm

Hemifacial spasm is an involuntary contraction of the muscles on one side of the face. Botox injection is the only effective treatment. The injections have to be repeated every 3 to 4 months.

What you should know about Hemifacial Spasm

Hemifacial spasm usually starts with twitching of the eyelids and progresses to involve the muscles on the entire side of the face. Symptoms may vary from mild twitching to strong contractions. Very rarely, hemifacial spasm can be bilateral.

One way of differentiating hemifacial spasm from early blepharospasm is presence of symptoms during sleep. In blepharospasm the twitching stops while sleeping.

The cause of Hemifacial spasm is usually unknown. Rarely, it can be caused by facial nerve irritation inside the brain by an abnormally dilated blood vessel. In the majority of cases however, the cause cannot be identified so the treatment targets directly the muscles responsible for the spasms. This consists of botulinum toxin (Botox) injections directly into the squeezing muscles to decrease twitching.

The dose of Botox used to treat hemifacial spasm is significantly lower than in blepharospasm but the injections involve more regions of the face. The treatment has to be repeated every 3 to 4 months.