Clinical Services

Hemifacial Spasm Treatment in Leesburg & Dulles, VA

What Is A Hemifacial Spasm?

A Hemifacial Spasm, tic convulsif is a condition that causes tics or muscle spasms. Hemifacial means one side of the face. These muscle spasms typically occur on one side of the face. These spasms are are sometimes uncomfortable for the patient, but are typically not life-threatening nor painful. These spasms can cause distress with the patient and as the condition worsens, the spasms can occur more frequently. Hemifacial spasms can be found in both men and women, but are more common in middle-aged women.

What Are The Symptoms of Hemifacial Spams?

  • Small twitching of one eyelid, can pull an eye shut and cause it to tear up
  • Spasms on one side of the face
  • Hearing changes
  • Clicking sound on the side that is affected during the spasm
  • Pain behind the ear

The symptoms of hemifacial spasms can still continue while the patient is sleeping. The small twitching of one eyelid, that can pull an eye shut and cause it to tear up may be an early sign of hemifacial spasm. Patients experiencing this symptom should be evaluated by their doctor.

What Causes Hemifacial Spasm?

Hemifacial spasm can be caused by different types of irritants to a facial nerve. Hemifacial spasm is centered on the seventh cranial nerve. The common cause of hemifacial spasm is a small blood vessel compressing the facial nerve at the brainstem. There are other rare situations that can cause hemifacial spasms, such as an infection or a stroke.

Treatment Options For Hemifacial Spasm

Currently there is no cure for hemifacial spasm, but patients have a few treatment options available to them.

Anti-epileptic medicines (carbamazepine and topiramate) can be helpful to those experiecing symptoms of hemifacial spasm. These can help quiet never impulses. Benzodiazepine medicines (diazepam and clonzepam), which are sedatives can help relax muscle spams and ease the symptoms of hemifacial spasms.

Botulinum toxin injections can be used in controlled doses. This injection can be used to relax muscle contractions. This is injected into the facial muscle to help block signals to the nerve. The injections typically start working in a couple of days and can last a few months. The injections are used to help temporarily stop the spasms.

There are a couple of surgeries that can be done to ease hemifacial symptoms. Microvascular decompression is one surgery that can help. This surgery would involve removing a blood vessel that is pressing on a facial nerve. Surgery is typically recommended when the symptoms are severe in a patient.

Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Seth Tuwiner Today

Dr. Seth Tuwiner at Virginia Center for Neuroscience is highly-trained to treat and diagnose Hemifacial Spasm. Give his office a call at (703) 293-5244 if you have any questions or if you are experiencing these symptoms and would like to be evaluated.