Hemifacial Spasm

Hemifacial spasm is a neuromuscular disorder that causes frequent involuntary contractions to occur in the muscles on one side of the face.

  • Causes

    Hemifacial spasm doesn't always have a specific cause. It may occur as a result of:

    • A blood vessel pressing on the facial nerve
    • Tumor
    • Facial nerve injury
    • Bony or other abnormalities that compress the nerve
    Muscles of the Face
    Muscles of the Face
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  • Definition

    Hemifacial spasm is a neuromuscular disorder that causes frequent involuntary contractions to occur in the muscles on one side of the face.

  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:

    • Electromyography (EMG)—records electrical activity generated in muscle while contracting and relaxing
    • Angiography—uses contrast material to see blood vessels

    Images of internal body structures may be taken with an MRI scan or CT scan.

  • Prevention

    There are no current guidelines to prevent hemifacial spasm.

  • Risk Factors

    Hemifacial spasm is more common in middle-aged and elderly women. It is also more common in Asians.

  • Symptoms

    • Intermittent twitching of the eyelid muscle
    • Forced closure of the eye
    • Spasms of the muscles of the lower face
    • Mouth pulled to one side
    • Continuous spasms involving all the muscles on one side of the face

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.