Facial tics

Alternative Names

Tic – facial; Mimic spasm

Definition of Facial tics

A facial tic is a repeated spasm, often involving the eyes and muscles of the face.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Tics most often occur in children, but may last into adulthood in some cases. Tics occur three to four times as often in boys as girls. Tics may affect as many as one-fourth of all children at some time.

Signs and tests

The health care provider will usually diagnose a tic during a physical examination. No special tests are needed. In rare cases an EEG may be done to rule out .

Treatment

Short-lived childhood tics are not treated. Calling the child’s attention to a tic may make it worse or cause it to continue. A nonstressful environment can reduce the frequency of tics, and help them go away more quickly. Stress reduction programs may also be helpful.

Expectations (prognosis)

Simple childhood tics should go away on their own over a period of months. Chronic tics may continue for a longer period of time.

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/9/2010

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

Article written by

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability.