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J Neurosurg. 1998 Dec;89(6):1020-4.

Microvascular decompression for superior oblique myokymia: first experience. Case report.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Nordstadt Hospital, Hannover, Germany.


Superior oblique myokymia (SOM) is a rare eye movement disorder presenting as uniocular rotatory microtremor due to intermittent contractions of the superior oblique muscle. Medical treatment usually fails to provide long-term benefit for the patient and has considerable side effects. Surgical alternatives including tenotomy or partial tenectomy of the superior oblique tendon often result in incomplete resolution of the visual symptoms. The authors report a patient who experienced immediate cessation of disabling SOM following microvascular decompression of the fourth nerve at the root exit zone. Temporary double vision at downgaze resolved 5 months after surgery. There was no recurrence of oscillopsia during a follow-up of 22 months to date. From this single observation it appears likely that vascular compression of the trochlear nerve could be a significant pathophysiological factor contributing to SOM. In the hands of an experienced surgeon, microvascular decompression at the brainstem exit zone of this nerve may evolve as the method of choice for selected cases of disabling SOM.

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