Hemifacial spasm is a condition in which the muscles contract in tics or twitches on one side of the face, usually the left. People do not have control over these spasms, and very often they continue even during sleep. Hemifacial spasm is usually not painful and not considered a health hazard. In advanced cases, however, the eyes may remain squeezed shut for long enough to become dangerous when driving, for example. Both men and women can develop these facial twitches, but women, especially middle-aged and older women, develop hemifacial spasm at about twice the rate of men. The condition is also somewhat more common in Asian people. It is a rare condition, seen in approximately 11 out of , people.
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Hemifacial spasms happen when the muscles on only one side of your face twitch without warning. These types of spasms are caused by damage or irritation to the facial nerve, which is also known as the seventh cranial nerve. Facial spasms occur when the muscles contract involuntarily because of this nerve irritation. Hemifacial spasms are also known as tic convulsif. At first, they may appear only as small, barely noticeable tics around your eyelid, cheek, or mouth. Over time, the tics may expand to other parts of your face. They also tend to occur more often on the left side of your face. But a constant twitch in your face can be frustrating or uncomfortable.
The main symptom of hemifacial spasm is the tic itself, which may manifest itself in a number of ways. Symptoms usually occur on only one side of the face, but in some rare cases there are spasms on both sides. Symptoms may include:. Unlike trigeminal neuralgia, hemifacial spasm has symptoms that often continue during sleep. Although the minor twitch of an eyelid is common and not necessarily a symptom of hemifacial spasm, a stronger spasm that pulls the eye shut and causes the eye to tear up may be a sign of early hemifacial spasm.
Hemifacial spasm HFS is an involuntary twitching or contraction of the facial muscles on one side of the face. Medication, surgery, and Botox injections are treatment options to stop the spasms and relieve the discomfort. Each treatment offers benefits, but each has limitations. You and your doctor should determine which treatment is best. Hemifacial spasm also called tic convulsif is an involuntary twitching of the facial muscles on one side of the face. The facial muscles are controlled by the facial nerve seventh VII cranial nerve , which originates at the brainstem and exits the skull below the ear where it separates into five main branches Fig. The facial nerve is primarily a motor nerve, meaning it controls muscles that move the eyebrows, close the eyes, and move the mouth and lips.