The definitive treatment for hemifacial spasm is microvascular decompression (MVD), which cures the disease in 85% to 95% of patients according to reported series. In expert hands, the MVD procedure can be done with relatively low morbidity.
A video demonstrates the surgical steps of a MVD at left facial REZ in a 41-year-old man who presented with typical hemifacial spasm on the left side due to VIIth nerve REZ compression by PICA. A classical retromastoid and infrafloccular approach was performed to avoid stretching of the VIIIth nerve and access the VIIth nerve ventro-caudally. The next step is insertion-along the brainstem, VII-VIIIth nerves REZ, and flocculus-of a plaque made of Teflon felt (Edward-type) which is semi-rigid, and by principle does not exert direct compression on the facial REZ, thus avoiding compression and/or transmission of pulsations on the VIIth nerve. The patient's postoperative period was uneventful and clinical outcome good 1).
Takeda et al. report the successful treatment of a patient with hemifacial spasm due to a tortuous vertebral artery that appeared to have developed to compensate for agenesis of the ipsilateral carotid artery. The 51-year-old man presented with a 1-year history of progressive left hemifacial spasm. His medical history was otherwise unremarkable except for untreated mild hypertension. Magnetic resonance angiography and bone window computed tomography demonstrated congenital agenesis of the left carotid artery and compression of the root exit zone of the left facial nerve by a tortuous left vertebral artery (VA). Microvascular decompression was performed via a left suboccipital craniotomy, and the offending vessel was identified using endoscopy. The vertebral artery was successfully transposed using polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tape and a PTFE ball (Bard PTFE felt, Tempe, Arizona). This is the first report of a patient with hemifacial spasm caused by an ectatic VA associated with agenesis of the ipsilateral carotid artery 2).
A 61-year-old female presented with 4 years history of left-sided hemifacial spasm. Head MRI and angiography indicated left vertebral artery dissecting aneurysm which compressed ipsilateral cranial nerves Ⅶ and Ⅷ. Microvascular decompression was performed. The dissecting aneurysm was pushed apart and the distal part of the parent artery was adhered to the dura on the petrosum. The compressed nerves were totally decompressed. The symptom of facial spasm was completely resolved immediately after surgery and did not recur during 6 months of follow up 3).