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Hemifacial Spasm

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Hemifacial spasm is the painless, involuntary (cannot be controlled) twitching of one side of your face. While anyone can potentially develop this condition, it is most common among women of middle age or older.

The main symptom of this condition is muscles on one side of the face twitching involuntarily – usually beginning with the eyelid and then spreading to the cheek and mouth. At first, the twitching usually happens every once in a while, but may become almost continuous in more advanced cases. While the spasms are painless, they can be embarrassing and look like the person is having a seizure-like episode.

Tests

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - Your doctor may order an MRI to rule out tumors and other structural abnormalities, as these can cause similar symptoms. An MRI can also usually detect the abnormal loop of artery that is pressing on your nerve and causing the spasm.

Treatments

Microvascular decompression - Micovascular decompression is performed under general anesthesia (fully asleep) by a neurosurgeon who makes a small incision behind the ear to place a tiny pad on the facial nerve to prevent blood vessels from touching it.

Botox Injections - When you would prefer to not undergo surgery or your doctor has decided that surgery is too risky for you, injections of small amounts of botulinum toxin (Botox) can help to reduce involuntary spasms. Your ophthalmologist will use a tiny needle to inject Botox right in the office.

Why Choose Bascom Palmer Eye Institute?

Ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report. Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, part of the University of Miami Health System, is the country’s top facility for the treatment of eye diseases and disorders, according to U.S. News & World Report. Choosing our facility means receiving outstanding and compassionate care.

Trusted Physicians. Doctors travel from around the world to train with us – they appreciate our groundbreaking research and impact on eye care. As our patient, you gain from our knowledge, developed over 50+ years of caring for patients. All of our doctors are board-certified or board-eligible ophthalmologists.

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