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A Comprehensive Guide to Promising Treatments for Hemifacial Spasms

Do you experience the frustrating and often embarrassing facial spasms and twitches caused by hemifacial spasms? Characterized by involuntary, repetitive contractions of the muscles on one side of your face, this condition often begins with subtle twitches but can escalate to more pronounced spasms over time. You may find yourself contending with a range of distressing symptoms, including facial distortions, difficulty closing the eyes, and speech impediments.

Dr. Gregory Lekovic offers a series of personalized treatments to help you overcome hemifacial spasms, ranging from non-surgical treatments like botulinum toxin injections to surgical options like microvascular decompression surgery and facial nerve decompression. This article provides a detailed overview of the treatment options for hemifacial spasms.

Non-Surgical Option: Botulinum Toxin Injections

Botulinum toxin injections, such as Botox, are a highly effective, minimally invasive treatment for hemifacial spasms. Botox is derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and is carefully administered to alleviate the symptoms associated with hemifacial spasms. The procedure is minimally invasive, typically performed in an outpatient setting, and can offer relief for 3 to 6 months before requiring repeated injections.

When injected into specific facial muscles on the affected side, botulinum toxin temporarily blocks the nerve signals that trigger muscle contractions. The toxin targets the nerve endings at the neuromuscular junction, where nerves and muscles communicate. By impeding the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for muscle contraction, botulinum toxin relaxes the affected muscles. This results in a reduction in the severity and frequency of spasms.

Benefits of Botulinum Toxin Injections:

  • Rapid reduction in muscle spasms
  • Improved facial symmetry
  • Enhanced speech and communication abilities
  • Non-surgical procedure
  • Limited downtime and quick recovery
  • Long-lasting relief with periodic injections

Surgical Option: Microvascular Decompression Surgery (MVD)

Microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery is a specialized and highly effective procedure used to treat hemifacial spasms when other treatments have proven ineffective. This surgical intervention aims to relieve the pressure exerted on the facial nerve by surrounding blood vessels, addressing the root cause of the spasms.

During the MVD procedure, a small incision is made behind the ear on the affected side, allowing the surgeon to access the base of the skull. Using microscopic instruments, the surgeon moves the affected blood vessel away from the facial nerve, placing a cushioning pad, such as a small piece of Teflon, between them to prevent future compression. This eliminates nerve irritation and provides long-term relief. Microvascular decompression surgery is a permanent solution, offering patients the chance to regain control over their facial muscles.

Benefits of Microvascular Decompression Surgery (MVD):

  • Permanent relief from hemifacial spasms
  • Elimination of nerve compression
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Low risk of recurrence
  • No need for ongoing medication
  • Restoration of normal facial muscle function

Alternative Surgical Option: Selective Neurotomy

Selective neurotomy is a surgical alternative that relieves hemifacial spasms by targeting the specific nerves responsible for the involuntary muscle contractions. This procedure involves the precise severing of the affected facial nerves, effectively interrupting the abnormal signals that trigger spasms. While not as commonly performed as microvascular decompression surgery, it can be a viable option for patients who do not qualify for MVD.

Benefits of Selective Neurotomy:

  • Precise targeting of affected facial nerves
  • Effective relief from hemifacial spasms
  • Potentially shorter recovery period compared to other surgical options
  • May be suitable for patients who do not qualify for microvascular
  • decompression surgery
  • A viable alternative when microvascular decompression is not preferred

Schedule An Appointment

Dr. Lekovic is a board-certified neurosurgeon renowned for his expertise in skull base and cerebrovascular surgery. If you or a loved one is suffering from hemifacial spasms and seeking effective treatments, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lekovic. With his extensive experience and commitment to patient care, he can provide personalized guidance and a comprehensive assessment. Schedule an appointment to free yourself from the burden of persistent facial spasms and involuntary contractions.

Contact Us (310) 825-5111