Definition

Hemifacial spasm (HS) causes muscles to contract on one side of the face. They happen without your control.

Causes

HS doesn't always have a cause. It may be due to:

  • A blood vessel pressing on the facial nerve
  • Tumor
  • Facial nerve injury
  • Bony or other abnormalities that press the nerve

Muscles of the Face

Muscles of the Face
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Risk Factors

HS is more common in older women.

Symptoms

You may have:

  • Twitching of the eyelid muscle
  • Forced closure of the eye
  • Lower face spasms
  • Mouth pulled to one side
  • Spasms of all the muscles on one side of the face

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You may have:

  • A physical exam
  • Electromyography (EMG)—records eletricity generated in muscle while at work and at rest
  • Angiography—uses contrast material to see blood vessels

Pictures of your body may be taken This can be done with:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you.

Your doctor may have you take antiseizure medicines. They may help to ease symptoms.

Botulinum toxinmay be injected into the muscles. It can stop eyelid spasm for many months. This must be repeated, usually many times a year. This is the main way to treat HS.

You may have surgery to reposition the blood vessel away from the nerve. This is helps people with HS caused by a blood vessel pressing on the facial nerve.

Prevention

HS can't be prevented.