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Open access

Microvascular decompression for developmental venous anomaly causing hemifacial spasm: illustrative case

Margaret Tugend and Raymond F Sekula Jr.

BACKGROUND

Developmental venous anomaly (DVA) is a rare cause of hemifacial spasm (HFS). The treatment of HFS caused by a DVA varies in the literature and includes medication management, botulinum toxin injections, and microvascular decompression (MVD).

OBSERVATIONS

A 64-year-old woman presented with right-sided HFS. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging showed a DVA in the right inferior pons, with an enlarged segment compressing the facial nerve at its root detachment point prior to drainage into the superior petrosal sinus. MVD was performed, and the facial nerve was decompressed without sacrifice of the vein. Immediately following the procedure, the patient had significantly reduced spasms. The patient became spasm-free 3 months after MVD and maintained spasm freedom for 3 months. Six months after MVD, the patient had a partial return of spasms. At 8 months, the patient continued to have reduced and intermittent spasms in the right orbicularis oculi muscle.

LESSONS

MVD for HFS caused by a DVA is a safe procedure and can be effective at reducing spasm frequency and severity.

Open access

Simultaneous microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm involving a dolichoectatic vertebral artery in an elderly patient: illustrative case

Neelan J. Marianayagam, Hanya M. Qureshi, Sagar Vasandani, Shaurey Vetsa, Muhammad Jalal, Kun Wu, and Jennifer Moliterno

BACKGROUND

Hyperactive cranial neuropathies refractory to medical management can often be debilitating to patients. While microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery can provide relief to such patients when an aberrant vessel is compressing the root entry zone (REZ) of the nerve, the arteries of elderly patients over 65 years of age can be less amenable to manipulation because of calcifications and other morphological changes. A dolichoectatic vertebral artery (DVA), in fact, can lead to multiple cranial neuropathies; therefore, a strategy for MVDs in elderly patients is useful.

OBSERVATIONS

A 76-year-old man presented with medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and hemifacial spasm (HFS). A DVA was the conflicting vessel at the left REZs of the trigeminal and facial nerves. The authors performed a retrosigmoid craniotomy for MVD of the DVA with Teflon padding at both REZs in approximately 1 hour of operative time. The patient was free of facial pain and spasm immediately after surgery and at follow-up.

LESSONS

The authors described the case of an elderly patient with both TN and HFS caused by compression of a DVA. Simultaneous MVD with Teflon padding at both REZs provided symptomatic relief with limited surgical time. This can be a particularly useful and straightforward surgical strategy in the elderly population.