Microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm: postoperative neurologic follow-up and evaluation of life quality


Kjell Heuser, Division for Clinical Neuroscience, Department of Neurology, Rikshospitalet–Radiumhospitalet, University of Oslo, Sognsvannsveien 20, N-0027 Oslo, Norway (tel.: +47 230 70472; fax: +47 230 70490; e-mail: kjell.heuser@rikshospitalet.no).


Microvascular decompression (MVD) is an effective and safe treatment in hemifacial spasm (HFS). Postoperative evaluations are usually made by neurosurgeons. Follow-up studies performed by neurologists and postoperative quality of life (QoL) investigations are lacking. All 25 HFS patients operated with MVD in our centre between 2000 and 2004 were evaluated with the recently validated HFS-7 scheme, extended with the item ’sleep disturbance due to HFS’ (HFS-8). The patients underwent a careful neurological examination median 3 years after the operation. The evaluation focused on clinical aspects, changes in blood pressure and time until observable effect of MVD. The evaluation of HFS-7 questionnaire and the extended form (HFS-8) showed significant improvement in QoL after MVD. Neurological outcome was in almost all cases excellent or good. Eleven (44%) patients had no neurological deficits at all. Only one patient had serious complications with ipsilateral facial palsy, deafness, balance problems and vertigo. The other patients had minor neurological findings or symptoms. Eighteen (72%) patients experienced early effect within 3 months after MVD; seven (28%) patients had late effect between 6 and 14 months. Median age of the patients with late effect (62.6 years) was significantly higher than in those with early effect (52.7 years).