FAQ About Hemifacial Spasm

Many patients have never even heard of hemifacial spasm until they or a family member are diagnosed with it. Here are some of the common questions we're asked about hemifacial spasm:

Do Botox injections really work for hemifacial spasm?

Temporarily, yes. An injection of botulinum toxin (Botox) causes a small, partial paralysis of the muscle and stops the spasm. The paralysis is temporary, so injections need to be repeated approximately every six months. See more about Diagnosing and Treating Hemifacial Spasm.

What causes hemifacial spasm?

Hemifacial spasm is caused by any one of a number of possible irritants to the seventh cranial nerve, but it’s most frequently caused by a small blood vessel (usually an artery) compressing the  facial nerve at the brainstem. Find out more about Hemifacial Spasm.

How is hemifacial spasm treated?

Microvascular decompression surgery for hemifacial spasmInjections of botulinum toxin (Botox) can provide temporary relief, but the permanent solution is usually microdecompression surgery. See more about Diagnosing and Treating Hemifacial Spasm.

Our Care Team

  • Chairman and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief
  • Margaret and Robert J. Hariri, MD ’87, PhD ’87 Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Vice Provost of Business Affairs and Integration
Phone: 212-746-4684
  • Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventional Neuroradiology
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Fellowship Director, Endovascular Neurosurgery
Phone: 212-746-5149
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens
Phone: (718) 670-1837

Reviewed by: Philip E. Stieg, PhD, MD
Last reviewed/last updated: April 2021
Illustration by Thom Graves, CMI

Weill Cornell Medicine Brain & Spine Center 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787