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Facial Spasms

Facial Spasms

Definition

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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Risk Factors

Hemifacial spasm is more common in middle-aged and elderly women. It may have differing incidence rates in different ethnic populations.

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

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.

Treatment

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

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent hemifacial spasm.

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