Hemifacial Spasm and Microvascular Decompression
Hemifacial spasm is a spasm of one side of the face. It is caused by the pressure of an artery pressing on a nerve. This condition can be treated with surgery called microvascular decompression.
What is hemifacial spasm?
Our daughter, Kathy, first complained of a tic around her eye. I thought it was just stress. But the tic continued to get worse for a period of ten years.
Finally a wonderful physician diagnosed Hemifacial Spasm and referred us to the Hemifacial Spasm Association on line. What a relief!
We soon learned that sufferers of Hemifacial spasm have a blood vessel that is pressing on a facial nerve.
How is Hemifacial Spasm treated?
Hemifacial Spasm is often treated with prescribed medication. Botox is sometimes a solution, though it was not a good solution for Kathy. There are also alternative medication solutions that are certainly worth trying.
For Kathy, the solution was a Microvascular Decompression. The HFSA website describes Microvascular Decompression as a "highly technical surgery which involves a neurosurgeon surgically separating one or more blood vessels/arteries that are impinging upon the seventh (facial) cranial nerve. Small implants made of shredded Teflon felt (which looks like wisps of absorbent cotton) are used to maintain the separation of the offending blood vessel/artery on the nerve. The offending blood vessel/artery rests on the felt instead of the nerve. (The felt is held in place by the pressure exerted by the artery/vein on the nerve.)"
Kathy's MVD was done at Allegheny General Hospital by Dr. Peter Janetta.
Kathy's facial tics resolved completely and have not returned. We are very thankful.
If you need more information about Hemifacial Spasm, please go to the Hemifacial Spasm Association website.
Before and After Photo
We put Kathy's before and after photos on a card so that we could continue to tell her story. It took us a long time to find a solution and we hope that we can help folks find the HFSA when they need more information.