A hemifacial spasm is a rare condition of intermittent, painless, involuntary spasmodic muscle contractions on one side of the face. Understandably, it can cause social distress and severely impact daily living. The condition typically begins with infrequent contractions around the eye, spreading to involve the cheek and jaw. The contractions can become more frequent and severe, and may even interfere with vision. Most cases of hemifacial spasms are caused when the facial nerve is somehow compressed as it enters the brain.
A botulinum toxin type A (BTXA) injection is the preferred medical treatment for hemifacial spasm. As the condition progresses, microvascular decompression surgery is required. During this procedure, our neurosurgical team identifies the facial nerve exiting the brain stem, as well as the offending vessel. The vessel, which compresses the nerve and brain, is then carefully lifted away. A very small piece of cotton or Teflon is then placed between the nerve and the vessel. At Memorial Medical Center, this sophisticated and precise surgery is aided with computerized image guidance, microscopes and neuroendoscopy.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with a member of our neurosurgical team to discuss hemifacial spasm treatment options, please call (814)534-5724.