HumanInsight Facial Nerve Massage for the Treatment of Hemifacial Spasm Refractory to Microvascular Decompression: Outcomes and Complications
Neurosurgery. 2022 Jul 14. doi: 10.1227/neu.0000000000002075. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: After microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS), a minority of patients realize little to no relief of spasms. In some patients, the absence of relief of spasms results from incomplete or inadequate decompression of vascular compression of the facial nerve, and these patients represent excellent candidates for repeat MVD. However, in other patients, repeat MVD is not appropriate because adequate decompression and resolution of neurovascular compression, as determined by postoperative high-resolution MRI, was achieved with the initial operation.
OBJECTIVE: To present a cohort of patients with a history of HFS refractory to MVD, with no evidence of neurovascular compression on postoperative MRI, who underwent facial nerve massage (FNM) in the posterior fossa in an attempt to relieve spasms.
METHODS: Thirteen patients with a history of incomplete relief of spasms after technically adequate MVD surgery for hemifacial spasm underwent FNM. Immediate and long-term degree of spasm relief and complications after FNM were documented through in-person or telemedicine interview.
RESULTS: At follow-up after FNM, 7 of 12 patients (58.3%) reported complete spasm relief (grade I), 2 of 12 patients (16.7%) reported >75% spasm relief (grade II), 0 patient (0%) reported >50% spasm relief (grade III), 3 of 12 (25.0%) patients reported <50% spasm relief (grade IV), and 1 patient was lost to follow-up. One patient experienced a delayed facial paresis, and another patient experienced high-frequency hearing loss.
CONCLUSION: After FNM, durable and, at least, partial relief of spasms with a relatively low complication rate was observed in most patients with HFS with incomplete relief of spasms after technically adequate prior MVD.
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