Botulinum Toxin A is a highly effective treatment for hemifacial spasm, a condition characterized by involuntary muscle contractions on one side of the face. Before starting the treatment, a thorough medical evaluation is performed to confirm the diagnosis of hemifacial spasm. This may involve a physical examination, medical history review, and possibly additional tests such as electromyography (EMG) to assess muscle activity.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, botulinum toxin is injected into the affected muscles. The most commonly used form of botulinum toxin for this purpose is botulinum toxin type A, which is available in various brand names like Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin. The botulinum toxin will help to paralyze the overactive twitching muscle and “quieten” down the overactive nerve that is causing the hemifacial spasm.
The injections are typically administered in a clinical setting, often by a neurologist or a specially trained healthcare professional. The treatment involves the use of very fine needles to inject small amounts of botulinum toxin directly into the overactive muscles on the affected side of the face.
Medical Mechanism of action: Botulinum toxin works by blocking the release of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is responsible for muscle contractions. By reducing acetylcholine release, the toxin temporarily weakens the targeted muscles, reducing their spasms and alleviating the associated symptoms.
The effects of botulinum toxin injections are not permanent, and the treatment needs to be repeated at regular intervals. The frequency of injections varies depending on the individual’s response and the specific brand of botulinum toxin used. Typically, treatments are repeated every three to four months.
After the initial injection, the patient’s response is monitored closely. The dosage and injection sites may be adjusted in subsequent treatments based on the individual’s needs and the efficacy of the previous injections.
Like any medical treatment, botulinum toxin injections may have potential side effects. These can include temporary weakness or drooping of facial muscles, bruising at the injection site, headache, and flu-like symptoms. However, serious complications are rare when the injections are administered by qualified professionals.
As the botulinum toxin is injected into only to the side of the affected face in hemifacial spasm, it can sometimes cause facial asymmetry. To minimize such side effects, minor quantities are usually given at the start, and with close frequent follow-ups to observe its efficacy.