Hemifacial Spasm in New York, NY

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What is a hemifacial spasm?

Dr. Raymond Sekula at The Neurological Institute of New York in New York, NY offers holistic diagnostic, surgical, and follow-up care for those grappling with hemifacial spasms. This uncommon disorder, marked by spontaneous, involuntary twitching of one side of the face due to the facial nerve's (seventh cranial nerve) involvement, impacts individuals across all age groups and profoundly affects their quality of life. Trust in Dr. Sekula's dedication to providing the finest, evidence-based treatment for those facing this challenging condition.

What are the Risk Factors for Hemifacial Spasms?

While the exact cause of hemifacial spasms is not always clear, certain factors may increase your risk of developing this condition, including:

  • Age: Hemifacial spasms are more common in older adults over the age of 40. This can be due to the natural wear and tear of blood vessels as we age.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop hemifacial spasms than men.
  • Blood vessel abnormalities: Certain medical conditions can increase the risk of blood vessel compression on the facial nerve.
  • Neurological disorders: Hemifacial spasms may be associated with other neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

Patients with a higher risk of developing hemifacial spasms should consult with a specialist like Dr. Sekula for early diagnosis and treatment to improve their quality of life.

Diagnosing hemifacial spasms involves a thorough assessment of the patient's symptoms and medical history. The primary diagnostic method includes:

  • Neurological examination: A detailed examination to observe the involuntary twitching, which often begins with eye twitching and can progress to other facial areas.
  • Imaging tests: Advanced imaging techniques like MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) may be used to identify any blood vessels compressing the facial nerve.
  • Electromyography (EMG): This test may be conducted to record the electrical activity of muscles and confirm the presence of nerve damage.

Dr. Sekula's approach to diagnosing hemifacial spasms is comprehensive, aiming to identify the underlying cause, whether it's a compressed nerve or an idiopathic condition. His expertise ensures patients receive the most accurate diagnosis, which is crucial for effective treatment planning.

What Are the Causes of A Hemifacial Spasm?

The primary cause of hemifacial spasm is believed to be the compression or irritation of the facial nerve, which controls the muscles of the face. This compression is often attributed to the abnormal contact between a blood vessel, typically an artery, and the facial nerve near the brainstem. As the blood vessel compresses the nerve, it can lead to erratic signals and involuntary muscle movements. While the exact cause is not always clear, factors such as aging, blood vessel abnormalities, or certain neurologic conditions may contribute to the development of hemifacial spasms.

What Are Symptoms of A Hemifacial Spasm?

Hemifacial spasms can vary in intensity and frequency, ranging from occasional twitches to constant, repetitive contractions. Individuals with hemifacial spasms may experience facial twitching, blinking, or grimacing that can interfere with daily activities such as talking, eating, or even driving. The spasms are usually unilateral, affecting only one side of the face, and tend to worsen over time. While the condition is not typically painful, the persistent and uncontrollable twitching can cause discomfort and embarrassment. Seeking medical evaluation from professionals like Dr. Raymond Sekula is crucial to accurately diagnose hemifacial spasms and explore treatment options to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

How is a hemifacial spasm treated?

Due to the limited success of oral medications in mitigating the frequency and severity of facial spasms, many turn to botulinum toxin (BOTOX®) injections or microvascular decompression surgery. An increasing number of HFS patients seek experienced surgeons, like Dr. Sekula, for this intricate procedure. During the surgery, Dr. Sekula moves a blood vessel away from the facial nerve, inserting a felt cushion between them via a small incision behind the ear. Dr. Sekula, acclaimed globally for his expertise, has performed thousands of microvascular decompression surgeries for hemifacial spasms. He has consistently improved the technique, enabling most patients to spend just 1 – 2 nights in the hospital, typically bypassing intensive care before discharge.

After much research and prayerful consideration, a decision was made to fly from Oklahoma to NYC for MVD surgery under the skilled hands of Dr. Sekula. I had had progressively worsening hemifacial spasm for 12 years, but even at 70 years of age, I needed permanent relief. Dr. Sekula was kind and compassionate, and I woke up spasm free. I am still spasm free after 4 weeks, and extremely grateful! Why did I wait so long??? Thank you Dr. Sekula, Caroline, and all the staff of New York Presbyterian Hospital!! Highly recommend. Camilla Dude

D.D. Google

Dr. Sekula, It’s now been 11 weeks since my MVD surgery….to say that it has changed my life is an understatement at best. Suffering with this affliction for 4 years had been devastating. When I found out you were moving to NYC, I knew it was meant to be that I would have my MVD surgery with you. As your very first patient at Columbia with my January 2022 virtual appointment, I promised to send before and after photos as you requested! I finally feel emotionally ready to do so. Hitting the jackpot with 2 disorders, HFS and Chiari malformation meant there was a possibility that surgery would have to be stopped if there was no room for you to reach the offending nerve/blood vessel compression causing my Hemifacial Spasm. Thankfully, because of you, that was not the case, and surgery was successfully completed. It’s actually hard now to remember the spasms as I have not had a single one since I woke up post surgery. It wasn’t until 4 AM the morning after my surgery that I realized my face was “quiet”, the best feeling ever. Thank you for changing my life with this surgery, it is such a joy to be able to smile again and look people in the eye without worrying about my face. I feel so very fortunate to have found you and even happier that you moved to NYC, so close to where I live! With warmest regards, S.G.

S.G. Other

Hello Doctor Sekula, I had HFS surgery last November 2022. Hemifacial spasms cause the right side of my face and eye to twitch, especially when I lie down at night. One year after surgery, my symptoms completely disappeared. I got my face and eyes back. In April 1981, I escaped my hometown on a small fishing boat offshore. I thought I was reborn after finding a free land. In November 2022, I met you and you saved my life again. I cannot express how happy I am. I have never felt the value of life like I do now. I take this opportunity to thank the HFS Worldwide team on Facebook. I found this group when I was desperately looking for a doctor. This is the first time I know your name and have strong feelings about my choice of surgeon. Unlike other clinics or doctors, responses take longer. Or I have to call back multiple times. You called me back shortly after I left a message at your office. I remember you told me you could cure my symptoms. I scheduled my appointment and planned my trip to NY quickly because I had been waiting for this moment for so many years. Please remember one thing. I will spread the great work to the hemifacial spasm group that you cured my hemifacial spasm. Please add another successful patient to your list. Yours sincerely. M.L.L.

M.L. Office Visit

Dr Sekula performed hemifacial spasms surgery on me almost 10 years ago significantly improving the quality of my life. I am externally grateful and highly recommend him. God bless him and his staff who performed the surgery!!

J.G. Google

Feb 3, 2021, almost 3 years ago, Dr. Sekula performed some surgical magic and cured me of a hemifacial spasm that I had been dealing with for 12 years. One of the things I liked about Dr. Sekula was his ability to share data on the outcomes of his many prior surgeries. That gave me the data to evaluate my own risk/reward. I deal with numbers and statistics every day in my day job, so I found that comforting. His approach to diagnosis and recommendation seemed very methodical as well. After evaluating me, he said he thought he could help me, but was very honest about the risks and rewards. I completely appreciate that approach. I had seen another doctor about getting an MVD many years earlier but he did not instill that confidence that I got from going to one of the most preeminent MVD surgeons in the world. In the end, results are what matters and he and his team delivered. I have been spasm free for nearly 3 years now and that part of my life is in the rear view mirror. Also, he and his team contact me annually to see how I am doing, add my results to his data set, and communicate that to future sufferers who find themselves in his office. Thank you Dr. Sekula. I hope you never retire and continue helping people like me.

R.S. Google


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Seek Expert Care for Hemifacial Spasms Today

Don't let hemifacial spasms dictate the rhythm of your life. With advancements in medical treatments and surgical interventions, relief is within reach. Whether you're considering botulinum toxin injections or exploring the nuances of microvascular decompression surgery, take control of your health and seek comprehensive care today. Reach out to Dr. Raymond Sekula at The Neurological Institute of New York in New York, NY, and let us guide you on your journey to a life free from the challenges of hemifacial spasms.

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Who might get hemifacial spasm?

Both men and women are susceptible to hemifacial spasm, though it is more common in women over 40 years of age.

What causes hemifacial spasm?

The condition often arises from compressed facial nerves, usually due to a blood vessel pressing against a facial nerve. In some cases, the cause remains unknown, termed idiopathic hemifacial spasm.

What are the symptoms of hemifacial spasm?

The primary symptom is intermittent eye twitching, which can progress to other facial areas. Spasms may worsen under stress or fatigue, sometimes pulling the mouth to one side.

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.