Facial nerves play an important role in terms of receiving signals from brain and controlling facial expressions of an individual. They are interconnected with various regions around face including ear canal, saliva glands, and tears glands. These facial nerves help a person to express inner emotions by allowing them to laugh, smile, or cry. They are extremely sensitive in nature and any kind of abnormality in functioning of facial nerves can result in uncontrolled contractions or weakening of facial muscles.
What is Hemifacial Spasm?
Also known as ‘tic convulsif’, hemifacial spasm is a neurological disorder that mostly affects one side of an individual’s face. It leads to involuntary twitching or contractions of facial nerves and muscles. Prevalence of this disorder is mostly observed in middle-aged people especially women.
Causes and Symptoms of Hemifacial Spasm
Root cause of hemifacial spasm is still unknown. However, medical practitioners state that a serious facial nerve injury or an underlying tumor may create pressure on nerves around face and give rise to hemifacial spasm. The given list elaborates general warning signs of hemifacial spasm.
- Nerve Inflammation – Patients suffering from hemifacial spasm may experience severe nerve inflammation on one side of their face.
- Twitching – This is the most common symptom of hemifacial spasm. Patients with an underlying hemifacial spasm may experience twitching or frequent tics, especially around eyes, mouth, and jaw area.
- Ear Pain – Patients may encounter an intense ear pain due to nerve inflammation. It may result in significant hearing changes over a long run.
Patients may feel embarrassed and develop social anxiety due to this neurological disorder. Therefore, they should not delay in visiting a well-trained neurologist for a precise diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnosing Hemifacial Spasm
Respective neurologists may begin the diagnosis session by asking certain questions to patients. For instance, they may ask regarding their symptoms and the time since they began. They may also ask the patients to reveal their medical history and drugs and medications they consume on a regular basis. It will help them in understanding current health status of patients. In addition to this, they may order any of the following imaging tests to confirm the presence of hemifacial spasm.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – Magnetic resonance imaging test refers to a painless procedure that uses radio waves and strong magnetic field to generate quality images of patient’s head and facial nerves. It can considerably help respective neurosurgeons to figure out root cause of hemifacial spasm and design a suitable treatment plan for them.
- Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA) – This diagnostic procedure is similar to an MRI test. During a magnetic resonance angiogram test, neurosurgeons use a specialized dye along with radio waves and magnetic fields for finding out the impaired facial nerve which is causing facial inflammation and uncontrolled contractions.
Surgeons will determine an appropriate treatment to relieve the twitching symptoms depending on diagnosis reports and patient’s overall health.
Primary Treatment Options for Hemifacial Spasm
Respective neurosurgeons may use the following health care measures for treating mild cases of hemifacial spasm. In serious cases, a surgical approach can prove beneficial.
- Botulinum Toxin Injections (Botox) – At first, surgeons may use botulinum injections to help relieve patients from facial nerve inflammation. These injections weaken or paralyze the problematic nerve for temporary basis which eventually reduces twitching sensations. Botulinum injections do not cause any significant side-effects. However, patients may need to repeat taking these injections after every three to four months for good results.
- Medications – Neurosurgeons may order anticonvulsant medications such as levodopa or clonazepam for treating hemifacial spasm These medicines can be given either orally or via injections according to patient’s comfort.
Surgical Treatment for Hemifacial Spasm
Microvascular decompression procedure (MVD) is considered to be the gold standard for treating hemifacial spasm permanently. It can be performed with the help of following steps.
- General Anesthesia – This advanced microsurgery is performed under general anesthesia which implies that patients will be asleep throughout the completion of procedure. It prevents them from experiencing any kind of discomfort and pain.
- Making Incision – Surgeons begin the operation by making a small incision in patient’s skull. It allows them to access the blood vessel which is creating pressure on patient’s specific facial nerve. They carefully lift the trouble-causing blood vessel away from facial nerve.
- Protective Pad – After that, they insert a small sponge-like pad in between them to reduce the possibility of further contact and close the incision.
Neurosurgeons may monitor the patients for a certain time interval for minimizing the risk of post-surgical complications.
Risks and Complications Associated with Hemifacial Spasm Surgery
Hemifacial spasm surgery is a safe procedure and chances of complications following this surgery are extremely rare. The given points describe general risks and complications associated with hemifacial spasm surgery.
- Pain and Severe Infection – Patients may experience pain and get a severe infection at incision site. Such type of infections can be easily treated with the help of antibiotic medications.
- Headaches – Patients may begin to experience frequent episodes of headaches following hemifacial spasm surgery.
- Hearing Loss – In rare instances, patients may have to face problems like hearing loss following the surgery.
Recovery Following Hemifacial Spasm Surgery
Respective neurosurgeons may ask patients to stay for a night or two in the health care center. Doctors will evaluate patient’s health completely during their stay for reducing the risk of potential complications. Surgeons may give them a healthy diet plan and recommend several exercises following the surgery. Dietary changes, strict exercising regimen, and relaxation procedures like breathing exercises will definitely help patients in a fast recovery. Furthermore, patients should regularly visit respective neurosurgeons for routine check-ups. Above all, patients should develop a positive mindset and strong will power for ensuring best beneficial outcomes following hemifacial spasm surgery.
Best Benefits of Undergoing Hemifacial Spasm Surgery in India with Travcure
Travcure Medical Tourism is one of the best healthcare tourism facilitators across the globe. Healthcare experts at Travcure have close association with super specialty hospitals and top neurosurgeons in India. They provide excellent medical treatments for neurological disorders like hemifacial spasm at cost-effective rates. It is a fact that hemifacial spasm surgery cost in developed nations such as Canada and United States is extremely high. Whereas, Travcure offers similar high-quality procedures at one-third of the prices which are normally charged by other nations. In addition to this, Team Travcure provides a free online healthcare consultation to overseas patients and also assists them in availing their medical visas in a hassle-free manner. Travcure makes every effort to help international patients during their medical journey in India. They stay in touch with international patients throughout their treatment as well as during the recovery phase even when they return to their native countries. Therefore, international patients can rely on peerless services of Travcure Medical Tourism for availing hemifacial spasm surgery in India.
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