Hemifacial spasm is a nervous system disorder in which the muscles on one side of your face twitch involuntarily. Hemifacial spasm may be caused by a blood vessel touching a facial nerve, a facial nerve injury or a tumor, or it may not have a cause.

  • Experience. Mayo Clinic doctors trained in brain and nervous system conditions (neurologists) and brain and nervous system surgery (neurosurgeons) have experience treating hemifacial spasm and other neurological conditions.
  • Team approach. Mayo Clinic neurologists, neurosurgeons and other doctors work together to treat your condition.
  • Efficient system. Mayo Clinic doctors evaluate your condition and develop your treatment plan in days, not months.
  • Research. Mayo Clinic doctors study hemifacial spasm and other neurological conditions and conduct clinical trials.

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Doctors trained in neurology and neurosurgery treat people who have hemifacial spasm at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Doctors trained in neurology and neurosurgery treat people who have hemifacial spasm at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Doctors trained in neurology and neurosurgery treat people who have hemifacial spasm at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in brain and nervous system conditions (neurologists) and other doctors diagnose people who have hemifacial spasm. In Mayo Clinic's efficient system, your evaluation may be completed within days, not months.

To diagnose your condition, your doctor will conduct a physical examination and check for signs of hemifacial spasm. Your doctor may order imaging tests to diagnose your condition, determine the cause of your condition and develop the most appropriate treatment for your condition.

Your doctor may order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test. An MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of your head and determine the cause of your hemifacial spasm. Your doctor may inject a contrast dye into a blood vessel (magnetic resonance angiogram) to look for any abnormal blood vessel that may be irritating the facial nerve.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in brain and nervous system conditions (neurologists), brain and nervous system surgery (neurosurgeons), and other doctors evaluate and treat hemifacial spasm. Doctors will educate you about your condition and work with you to determine the most appropriate treatment for you.

Your treatment may include:

  • Botulinum injections. Your doctor may inject botox (botulinum toxin type A or type B) into the affected muscles, which temporarily paralyzes those muscles. You'll need additional treatments every few months. People often have improvement in their symptoms after botulinum toxin treatment, with benefits often lasting three to four months.
  • Other medications. Medications, including clonazepam and diazepam, can relieve hemifacial spasm in some people.
  • Microvascular decompression surgery. In this surgery, your surgeon makes an opening in your skull and opens the covering of your brain (dura) to expose the facial nerve as it leaves the brainstem. Your surgeon locates the blood vessel pressing on or irritating the facial nerve and puts a sponge-like material between the nerve and blood vessel, removing the pressure on the nerve. This surgery often can relieve hemifacial spasm.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in nervous system conditions (neurologists) and other doctors study diagnosis and treatment options for hemifacial spasm and other neurological conditions. Read more about research on the neurology research website.

Mayo publications

See a list of publications by Mayo doctors on hemifacial spasm on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Clinical trials are research studies that test new ways to detect, prevent or treat disease. Mayo Clinic conducts more than 3,000 clinical trials and research studies each year and often coordinates national clinical trials with other medical centers.

Learn more about clinical trials and whether Mayo Clinic may be conducting a clinical trial related to your condition or procedure.

Nov. 19, 2012