Hemifacial spasms are a condition marked by the involuntary twitching of facial muscles. The word “hemifacial” means that this condition affects one side of the face. In some cases, these twitches leave patients unable to control their facial expressions. Hemifacial spasms may come and go, or they can occur constantly. There are several causes behind this condition that may warrant a visit to the doctor.
Diagnosing Hemifacial Spasms
To diagnose this condition, your doctor will typically check for and ask about your medical history. Your medical history can help your doctor narrow down the cause. Your doctor will also inquire about your symptoms in detail.
Consult your doctor about these symptoms:
- Constant and uncontrollable twitching
- Twitching on one side of the face
This twitching sensation can begin in one eyelid and continue to affect the side of the face. Hemifacial spasms may also affect both sides of the face but not simultaneously. For some, the sensation won’t seem bothersome at first. It can even go away. However, in time, the spasms may come back worse and more frequently.
Once your doctor confirms your symptoms, they may conduct a physical exam. They may also ask you about the frequency of the spasms and to identify triggers, such as:
- Overexertion of facial muscles
Your doctor may also conduct imaging tests, like an MRI scan. This imaging test can reveal any growths irritating facial nerves. Your doctor may inject a contrast dye into your face to inspect if any blood vessels are pushing against facial nerves.
These diagnostic tests can help to identify the root cause of your symptoms. The more specific the diagnosis, the better the treatment plan your doctor can prescribe.
Treatment Options For Hemifacial Spasms
Your doctor may prescribe anticonvulsants for mild hemifacial spasms. This type of medication works by changing the electrical or chemical activity among your neurons.
However, anticonvulsants may cause dizziness, fatigue, and even social and cognitive problems for some people.
Fortunately, there are other treatment options for facial twitching. One of the most effective treatment options is botulinum injections. Botox injections work by weakening and paralyzing the affected muscles.
However, these results are temporary, so you will need additional treatments every 3-6 months. Botox can cause minor side effects such as eye drooping and weakness for a few days.
Surgery And MVD
Patients with blood vessels pressing on facial nerves may benefit from surgery or microvascular decompression (MVD). MVD works by placing a small metal plate or sponge-like material between the affected nerve and blood vessel. While this treatment may relieve the involuntary facial twitching, it can also result in decreased hearing and facial weakness. For some, hemifacial spasms may recur after surgery.
Hemifacial spasms are a chronic condition, so you’ll need to continue treatment to address symptoms long-term. Avoiding stimulants like coffee, avoiding fatigue, and healthily addressing stress and anxiety can help keep symptoms at bay.
Hemifacial Spasms Diagnosis And Treatment In Michigan
Hemifacial spasms may develop from excessive pressure on nerves due to a tumor or a bulging blood vessel. For some, there isn’t a definitive cause. Fortunately, Botox injections, medications, and decompression procedures can help with this neuromuscular condition.
If you’ve been searching for hemifacial spasms treatment near you, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Associates in Neurology, we have state-of-the-art equipment for the proper diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions. Our team of highly skilled neurologists can perform a thorough assessment of your condition and craft an effective treatment plan.
You can find us at Farmington Hills, Southfield, Brighton, Howell, and Novi, Michigan. If you plan on visiting any of our locations, please schedule an appointment through our online form. For urgent concerns, please call us at (248) 478-5512. Our experienced doctors and friendly staff are ready to help you!