Hemifacial Spasm Information Page

Hemifacial Spasm Information Page


What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts and supports research related to hemifacial spams through grants to major research institutions across the country.  Much of this research focuses on better ways to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure neurological disorders, such as hemifacial spasm. 

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Facial Injuries and Disorders

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What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts and supports research related to hemifacial spams through grants to major research institutions across the country.  Much of this research focuses on better ways to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure neurological disorders, such as hemifacial spasm. 

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Facial Injuries and Disorders

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts and supports research related to hemifacial spams through grants to major research institutions across the country.  Much of this research focuses on better ways to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure neurological disorders, such as hemifacial spasm. 

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Facial Injuries and Disorders

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Definition
Definition
Treatment
Treatment
Prognosis
Prognosis
Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials
Organizations
Organizations
Publications
Publications
Definition
Definition

Hemifacial spasm is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by frequent involuntary contractions (spasms) of the muscles on one side (hemi-) of the face (facial). The disorder occurs in both men and women, although it more frequently affects middle-aged or elderly women. It is much more common in the Asian population.  The first symptom is usually an intermittent twitching of the eyelid muscle that can lead to forced closure of the eye. The spasm may then gradually spread to involve the muscles of the lower face, which may cause the mouth to be pulled to one side. Eventually the spasms involve all of the muscles on one side of the face almost continuously. The condition may be caused by a facial nerve injury, or a tumor, or it may have no apparent cause. Rarely, doctors see individuals with spasm on both sides of the face.  Most often hemifacial spasm is caused by a blood vessel pressing on the facial nerve at the place where it exits the brainstem.

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Definition

Hemifacial spasm is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by frequent involuntary contractions (spasms) of the muscles on one side (hemi-) of the face (facial). The disorder occurs in both men and women, although it more frequently affects middle-aged or elderly women. It is much more common in the Asian population.  The first symptom is usually an intermittent twitching of the eyelid muscle that can lead to forced closure of the eye. The spasm may then gradually spread to involve the muscles of the lower face, which may cause the mouth to be pulled to one side. Eventually the spasms involve all of the muscles on one side of the face almost continuously. The condition may be caused by a facial nerve injury, or a tumor, or it may have no apparent cause. Rarely, doctors see individuals with spasm on both sides of the face.  Most often hemifacial spasm is caused by a blood vessel pressing on the facial nerve at the place where it exits the brainstem.

Treatment
Treatment

Surgical treatment in the form of microvascular decompression, which relieves pressure on the facial nerve, will relieve hemifacial spasm in many cases.  This intervention has significant potential side-effects, so risks and benefits have to be carefully balanced.  Other treatments include injections of botulinum toxin into the affected areas, which is the most effective therapy and the only one used in most cases.  Drug therapy is generally not effective.

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Treatment

Surgical treatment in the form of microvascular decompression, which relieves pressure on the facial nerve, will relieve hemifacial spasm in many cases.  This intervention has significant potential side-effects, so risks and benefits have to be carefully balanced.  Other treatments include injections of botulinum toxin into the affected areas, which is the most effective therapy and the only one used in most cases.  Drug therapy is generally not effective.

Definition
Definition

Hemifacial spasm is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by frequent involuntary contractions (spasms) of the muscles on one side (hemi-) of the face (facial). The disorder occurs in both men and women, although it more frequently affects middle-aged or elderly women. It is much more common in the Asian population.  The first symptom is usually an intermittent twitching of the eyelid muscle that can lead to forced closure of the eye. The spasm may then gradually spread to involve the muscles of the lower face, which may cause the mouth to be pulled to one side. Eventually the spasms involve all of the muscles on one side of the face almost continuously. The condition may be caused by a facial nerve injury, or a tumor, or it may have no apparent cause. Rarely, doctors see individuals with spasm on both sides of the face.  Most often hemifacial spasm is caused by a blood vessel pressing on the facial nerve at the place where it exits the brainstem.

Treatment
Treatment

Surgical treatment in the form of microvascular decompression, which relieves pressure on the facial nerve, will relieve hemifacial spasm in many cases.  This intervention has significant potential side-effects, so risks and benefits have to be carefully balanced.  Other treatments include injections of botulinum toxin into the affected areas, which is the most effective therapy and the only one used in most cases.  Drug therapy is generally not effective.

Prognosis
Prognosis

The prognosis for an individual with hemifacial spasm depends on the treatment and their response.  Some individuals will become relatively free from symptoms with injection therapy.  Some may require surgery.  In most cases, a balance can be achieved, with tolerable residual symptoms.

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The prognosis for an individual with hemifacial spasm depends on the treatment and their response.  Some individuals will become relatively free from symptoms with injection therapy.  Some may require surgery.  In most cases, a balance can be achieved, with tolerable residual symptoms.

Prognosis
Prognosis

The prognosis for an individual with hemifacial spasm depends on the treatment and their response.  Some individuals will become relatively free from symptoms with injection therapy.  Some may require surgery.  In most cases, a balance can be achieved, with tolerable residual symptoms.

Definition

Hemifacial spasm is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by frequent involuntary contractions (spasms) of the muscles on one side (hemi-) of the face (facial). The disorder occurs in both men and women, although it more frequently affects middle-aged or elderly women. It is much more common in the Asian population.  The first symptom is usually an intermittent twitching of the eyelid muscle that can lead to forced closure of the eye. The spasm may then gradually spread to involve the muscles of the lower face, which may cause the mouth to be pulled to one side. Eventually the spasms involve all of the muscles on one side of the face almost continuously. The condition may be caused by a facial nerve injury, or a tumor, or it may have no apparent cause. Rarely, doctors see individuals with spasm on both sides of the face.  Most often hemifacial spasm is caused by a blood vessel pressing on the facial nerve at the place where it exits the brainstem.

Treatment

Surgical treatment in the form of microvascular decompression, which relieves pressure on the facial nerve, will relieve hemifacial spasm in many cases.  This intervention has significant potential side-effects, so risks and benefits have to be carefully balanced.  Other treatments include injections of botulinum toxin into the affected areas, which is the most effective therapy and the only one used in most cases.  Drug therapy is generally not effective.

Prognosis

The prognosis for an individual with hemifacial spasm depends on the treatment and their response.  Some individuals will become relatively free from symptoms with injection therapy.  Some may require surgery.  In most cases, a balance can be achieved, with tolerable residual symptoms.

What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts and supports research related to hemifacial spams through grants to major research institutions across the country.  Much of this research focuses on better ways to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure neurological disorders, such as hemifacial spasm. 

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Facial Injuries and Disorders

Patient Organizations
Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation
637 North 7th Street Suite 102
P.O. Box 12468
Beaumont
TX
Beaumont, TX 77726-2468
Tel: 409-832-0788
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury
CT
Danbury, CT 06810
Tel: 203-744-0100; Voice Mail: 800-999-NORD (6673)
Patient Organizations