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Microvascular Decompression for Hemifacial Spasms

Uncontrollable twitching on one side of the face can often be attributed to hemifacial spasms, a disorder of the nervous system that occurs when:

  • An artery compresses a cranial nerve
  • A facial nerve is injured
  • A tumor is present

In some cases, there is no obvious reason for hemifacial spasms. 

How we treat hemifacial spasms.

Microvascular Decompression of the VII Cranial Nerve

Hemifacial spasms can be treated with injections or stereotactic radiosurgery, but sometimes surgical intervention is required when medical management fails.


Microvascular decompression is a surgical procedure often used to relieve compression off a cranial nerve and to treat conditions like hemifacial spasms, trigeminal neuralgia, and glossopharyngeal neuralgia. A small incision is made behind the ear on the affected side of the face, and a microscope is used to explore the VII cranial nerve adjacent to the brain stem to determine the cause and severity of the compression. In many cases, the nerve is pinched by a loop of artery, and the neurosurgeon can reposition this artery away from the nerve to relieve the facial spasm.



Often, Gamma Knife radiosurgery may be  a non-surgical option in the treatment of hemifacial spasm.  This state of the art technology uses highly focused radiation treatment to treat the involved nerve with minimal effect to healthy brain tissue.  

Schedule an Appointment

If you’re experiencing uncontrollable twitching on one side of your face, call (865) 331-2835 for an appointment or more information.