What is hemifacial spasm?

Hemifacial spasm is a type of movement disorder that occurs when the facial nerve is compressed or irritated. It is characterized by very rapid, abnormal contractions of the muscles on one side of the face.

What are the risk factors of hemifacial spasm?

Hemifacial spasm affects both men and women, but is most common in women older than age 40.

What causes hemifacial spasm?

Hemifacial spasm may be caused by a facial nerve injury, a tumor, or it may have no apparent cause. If there is no apparent cause, doctors may call the condition idiopathic (of unknown cause) hemifacial spasm. The most common cause of hemifacial spasm is a blood vessel pressing on the facial nerve at the place where it exits the brainstem.

What are the symptoms of hemifacial spasm?

The primary symptom of hemifacial spasm is involuntary muscle spasms in the face. Pain is not common. In most cases, twitching begins around the eye. This may lead to forced closure of the eyelids. The spasms may gradually spread to the muscles of the lower face. For some people, the spasms may become worse during times of stress or being tired. Over time, the spasms may eventually become continuous and affect all of the muscles on one side of the face.

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