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Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2005 Oct;147(10):1019-26; discussion 1026. Epub 2005 Aug 12.

Microvascular decompression for primary hemifacial spasm. Importance of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Hopital Neurologique, University of Lyon, Lyon, France.


There is considerable evidence that primary Hemi-Facial Spasm (HFS) is in almost all cases related to a vascular compression of the facial nerve at its Root Exit Zone (REZ) from brainstem, and that Micro-Vascular Decompression (MVD) constitutes its curative treatment. Clinical as well as electrophysiological features plead for mechanisms of the disease in structural lesions at the neural fibers (putatively: focal demyelination at origin of ephapses) and functional changes in the nuclear cells (hyperactivity of the facial nucleus). Lateral Spread Responses (LSRs) elicited by stimulation of the facial nerve branches testify of these electrophysiological perturbations. Monitoring LSRs during surgery is feasible; however the practical value of their intraoperative disappearance as control-test of an effective decompression remains controversial.MVD allows cure of the disease in most cases. Because the VIIIth nerve is at risk during surgery, intraoperative monitoring of Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials (BEAPs) is of value to reduce occurrence of hearing loss. Increase in latency of Peak V and decrease in amplitude of Peak I are warning-signals of an excessive stretching of the the cochlear nerve and impairment of the cochlear vascular supply, respectively.

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