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Tingting Ying, Parthasarathy Thirumala, Aalap Shah, Tara Nikonow, Kelley Wichman, Maura Holmes, Barry Hirsch, Yuefang Chang, Paul Gardner, Miguel Habeych, Donald J. Crammond, Lois Burkhart, Michael Horowitz, and Jeffrey Balzer

Object

The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence and discuss the pathogenesis of high-frequency hearing loss (HFHL) after microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS).

Methods

Preoperative and postoperative audiogram data and brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) from 94 patients who underwent MVD for HFS were analyzed. Pure tone audiometry at 0.25–2 kHz, 4 kHz, and 8 kHz was calculated for all individuals pre- and postoperatively ipsilateral and contralaterally. Intraoperative neurophysiological data were reviewed independently. An HFHL was defined as a change in pure tone audiometry of more than 10 dB at frequencies of 4 and 8 kHz.

Results

The incidence of HFHL was 50.00% and 25.53% ipsilateral and contralateral to the side of surgery, respectively. The incidence of HFHL adjusted for conductive and nonserviceable hearing loss was 26.6% ipsilaterally. The incidence of HFHL at 4 and 8 kHz on the ipsilateral side was 37.23% and 45.74%, respectively, and it was 10.64% and 25.53%, respectively, on the contralateral side. Maximal change in interpeak latency Waves I–V compared with baseline was the only variable significantly different between groups (p < 0.05). Sex, age, and side did not increase the risk of HFHL. Stepwise logistic regression analysis did not find any changes in intraoperative BAEPs to increase the risk of HFHL.

Conclusions

High-frequency hearing loss occurs in a significant number of patients following MVD surgery for HFS. Drill-induced noise and transient loss of CSF during surgery may impair hearing in the high-frequency ranges on both the ipsilateral and contralateral sides, with the ipsilateral side being more affected. Changes in intraoperative BAEPs during MVD for HFS were not useful in predicting HFHL. Follow-up studies and repeat audiological examinations may be helpful in evaluating the time course and prognosis of HFHL. Prospective studies focusing on decreasing intraoperative noise exposure, as well as auditory shielding devices, will establish causation and allow the team to intervene appropriately to decrease the risk of HFHL.

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Xuhui Wang, Parthasarathy D. Thirumala, Aalap Shah, Paul Gardner, Miguel Habeych, Donald J. Crammond, Jeffrey Balzer, and Michael Horowitz

Object

The objective of this study was to investigate the clinical characteristics, intraoperative findings, complications, and outcomes after the first microvascular decompression (MVD) in patients with and without previous botulinum neurotoxin treatment for hemifacial spasm (HFS).

Methods

The authors analyzed 246 MVDs performed at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2007. One hundred and seventy-six patients with HFS underwent botulinum neurotoxin injection treatment prior to first MVD (Group I), and 70 patients underwent their first MVD without previous botulinum neurotoxin treatment (Group II). Clinical outcome data were obtained immediately after the operation, at discharge, and at follow-up. Follow-up data were collected from 177 patients with a minimum follow-up period of 9 months (mean 54.48 ± 27.84 months).

Results

In 246 patients, 89.4% experienced immediate postoperative relief of spasm, 91.1% experienced relief at discharge, and 92.7% experienced relief at follow-up. There was no significant difference in outcomes and complications between Group I and Group II (p > 0.05). Preoperatively, patients in Group I had higher rates of facial weakness, tinnitus, tonus, and platysmal involvement as compared with Group II (p < 0.05). The posterior inferior cerebellar artery and vertebral artery were intraoperatively identified as the offending vessels in cases of vasculature compression in a significantly greater number of patients in Group II compared with Group I (p = 0.008 and p = 0.005, respectively, for each vessel). The lateral spread response (LSR) disappeared in 60.48% of the patients in Group I as compared with 74.19% in Group II (p > 0.05). No significant differences in complications were noted between the 2 groups.

Conclusions

Microvascular decompression is an effective and safe procedure for patients with HFS previously treated using botulinum neurotoxin. Intraoperative monitoring with LSR is an effective tool for evaluating adequate decompression.