Re-operation for persistent hemifacial spasm after microvascular decompression with the aid of intraoperative monitoring of abnormal muscle response

Acta Neurochir (2010) 152:2113–2118. DOI 10.1007/s00701-010-0837-9

Microvascular decompression (MVD) is the only solution that can effectively control hemifacial spasm (HFS). Regarding treatment of the patients who failed the first operation, it is still controversial. We tried to evaluate the safety and efficiency of the early re-exploration for such kinds of patients.

Methods Thirteen patients failed the first MVD and received a second MVD procedure. The spasm was not resolved at all or became even more severe after the first MVD. Abnormal muscle response (AMR) persisted during the first MVD operation or disappeared once but emerged again. The patient had a strong will to do the re-operation and was aware of the high risks of operative complications.

Results All the 13 patients got good or excellent spasm resolution immediately after the re-operation, which involved whole-range exploration and intraoperative AMR monitoring; however, there were two cases (15.4%) of permanent facial weakness and three cases (23.0%) of transient facial weakness.

Conclusions Our experience on early repeat MVD is whole-range exploration and intraoperative AMR monitoring; in other words, re-operation cannot rely too much on experience

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