Hemifacial spasm is an involuntary contraction (spasm) of the muscles on one side of the face. This chronic constricting condition can become almost permanent over time and evolve into a disabling disfigurement and social embarrassment. Learn more about the condition, its diagnosis and the different treatment options available.
The diagnosis of hemifacial spasm is based on:
- The patient’s medical history and medical examination by a general practitioner. The role of the doctor is to distinguish hemifacial spasm from other similar abnormalities, such as blepharospasm, facial ticks, myokimia (repeated involuntary contractions along the entire length of a muscle that create a quivering effect) or post-paralytic facial spasm.
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the brain is often prescribed to give a detailed diagnosis. The MRI, together with an angio-MR (magnetic resonance angiogram) will also show any neuro-vascular conflict between the facial nerve and an artery in the brain, which occurs in 88% of patients. In this case, neurosurgery will be needed.
Generally appears between the ages of 50 and 70
More common in women
Brain MRI to aid diagnosis