Peripheral Nerve Stimulator TreatmentI am a 60-year-old male who has suffered with Hemifacial Spasm (HFS) since about 1999/2000.
These spasms started as a small twitch under my left eye. They were infrequent and only a minor nuisance. However, since that time the spasms have increased in frequency and intensity to the point that the spasms were constant and so severe that my face would draw and my eye would pull shut. Since I am blind in my right eye this was a serious problem. In addition to the spasms I had some pain in my face. The pain was no where near that suffered by someone with Trigeminal Neuralgia, but the combination of the spasms and pain was enough to drive someone over the edge.
I have been to several different specialists, had several MRI's, taken all the medicines of choice, had Botox injections on two separate occasions, and found no relief. In fact, my symptoms were continuing to worsen. I continued to try to find some kind of help. My wife's family doctor, Dr. Allen Jackson, of Charleston, S.C., refereed me to a neurosurgeon at the Medical University of South Carolina. This neurosurgeon, Dr. Istavan Tapac was to be my miracle.
Dr. Tapac took my history, did a thorough examination, reviewed my medical records and reports and said that he could help me. I was almost in shock, after seeing many specialists who offered me no hope, this man was telling me that he could help me. Dr. Tapac said that he could use a peripheral nerve stimulator, place the stimulator lead over my left eye and thus control the pain and spasms. He explained that he uses this peripheral nerve stimulator for patients with uncontrolled back pain, and had also used it to help patients with Parkinson’s Disease. At this time in my life I was willing to try anything to get some relief.
Dr. Tapac told me that he would implant a temporary lead over my left eye. That would be attached to an impulse generator. He would try to find a frequency that would stop the spasms and pain, without causing the muscles to close my eye or keep it opened.
On Tuesday, 08/19/08 I reported to the Medical University of Charleston, Charleston, SC and Dr. Tapac did the implant by putting a lead over my eye and a lead under my eye. The leads were under the skin and exited behind my ear. The leads were then attached to the stimulator generator. Along with Dr. Tapac, a representative from the company that manufactures the unit, Mr. Jason Gentry, set the frequency of the unit. UREKA, the spasms and pain are GONE.
I wore the external unit until Friday, Aug. 22, 2008. On that day I went back to the Medical University and all of the equipment that I had used for a test was removed, and new leads and the impulse generator were implanted under the skin. The impulse generator is actually implanted under my left collar, and the leads around my left eye.
I offer this information to all members of the Hemifacial Spasm Association in hopes that you may have one more medical procedure available in your fight against these spasms and pain.
Dr. Tapac can be reached at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC The peripheral nerve stimulator was manufactured by Advanced Bionics. The representative that was so helpful to me was Jason Gentry with Boston Scientific, http://www.ControlYourPain.com.
I pray that every person that is plagued with these Hemifacial Spasms can find the hope and relief that I have found. For the past 12 days, since 08/19/08, I am "SPASM & PAIN FREE".