Delayed relief of hemifacial spasm after microvascular decompression: can it be avoided?
Background. In view of the fact that a basal craniectomy in microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS) can minimize cerebellar retraction and expose the facial nerve root exit zone (FNREZ) directly from below without placement of tension on the seventh-eighth cranial nerve complex, we used a more basal approach in 32 patients with typical HFS. Method. A slightly curved skin incision 5 cm in length and 2 cm posterior and parallel to the mastoid notch was made. The basal lateral occipital plate including the lateral one-fourth of the condylar fossa and the posterior one-fourth of the jugular process were removed. For the early drainage of cerebrospinal fluid through a small dural hole, the basal occipital plate posteromedial to the condylar fossa was removed. With this basal craniectomy, minimum elevation of the cerebellar tonsil and flocculus could expose FNREZ safely. Findings. Thirty one of 32 patients displayed complete disappearance of spasm following surgery. One patient showed 70% decrease of spasm. Delayed transient facial weakness occurred in one patient. Audiometries showed no postoperative hearing decrease in any patient, even though no intra-operative monitoring of the cochlear function was undertaken. Interpretation. Although this basal approach, the para-condylar fossa approach, is a slightly basal modification of the conventional procedure, it may minimize complications.