Unusual synkinetic movements between facial muscles and respiration in hemifacial spasm



We describe two cases of hemifacial spasm (HFS) with unusual synkinetic movements between facial muscles and respiratory activity. Patient 1 developed an idiopathic HFS. She underwent microvascular decompression surgery, followed by transitory facial nerve palsy; she recovered but later developed a facial synkinesia characterized by involuntary and forced eyelid closure on spontaneous and deep breathing; the orbicularis oculi muscle was active also when her mouth was open (the so-called Marin-Amat syndrome). Patient 2, 1 year after a peripheral facial nerve palsy (Bell's palsy), developed an HFS together with synkinetic movements between the orbicularis oculi muscle and respiration. In both cases electrophy siological studies showed pathological synkinetic electromyographic activity. An enhanced hyperexcitability of brain stem interneurons and facial motoneurons could be suggested to explain the phenomenon.