OBJECTIVE: This study was performed to investigate the role of postoperative three-dimensional short-range magnetic resonance angiography in the prediction of clinical outcomes after microvascular decompression (MVD) for the treatment of hemifacial spasm. METHODS: We examined pre- and postoperative magnetic resonance imaging scans obtained between March 1999 and May 2000 for 122 patients with hemifacial spasm, to evaluate the degree of detachment of the vascular contact and changes in the positions of offending vessels. The degree of vascular decompression of the facial nerve root was classified into three groups, i.e., contact, partial decompression, or complete decompression. Contact was defined as unresolved compression, as indicated by postoperative three-dimensional short-range magnetic resonance angiography. Partial decompression was defined as incompletely resolved compression; vascular indentation of the facial nerve was improved, but contact with the facial nerve remained. Complete decompression was defined as completely resolved compression. These findings were compared with the surgical findings and clinical outcomes. RESULTS: Of 122 patients with MVD, complete decompression of offending vessels at the root entry zone of the facial nerve was observed for 106 patients (86.9%), partial decompression was observed for 10 patients (8.2%), and contact with offending vessels was observed for 6 patients (4.9%) by using postoperative three-dimensional short-range magnetic resonance angiography. Our study demonstrated that the types of offending vessels affected neither the degree of decompression of the root entry zone of the facial nerve nor surgical outcomes (P > 0.05). Also, there was no significant relationship between the degree of decompression and improvement of symptoms (P > 0.05). Furthermore, there was no significant relationship between the degree of decompression and the timing of symptomatic improvement (P > 0.05). CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that MVD of the facial nerve alone may not be sufficient to resolve symptoms for all patients with hemifacial spasm. Therefore, unknown factors in addition to vascular compression may cause symptoms in certain cases, and it may be necessary to remove those factors, simultaneously with MVD, to obtain symptom resolution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology