Neuro-Ophthalmology

Hemifacial Spasm



Hemifacial spasm is a chronic condition in which patients experience involuntary spasms on one side of the face.

Symptoms

The affected side of the face seems to “scrunch up” while the other side remains normal. These spasms may occur during the night and interrupt sleep. Middle aged men and women are affected equally.

Causes

Spasms can be brief or sustained and sometimes are triggered by facial movement.

Treatment Options

Botulinum toxin, called BOTOX, is an effective treatment for hemifacial spasm. A small amount of BOTOX is injected under the skin at each affected site. Within a few days the BOTOX takes effect, relaxing and weakening the facial muscle and preventing spasm. The injections are done in the doctor’s office and take only 5 or 10 minutes. The effect of the BOTOX usually lasts between 3 and 6 months after which the injections may be repeated.

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