This paper evaluates the outcome of retrosigmoid microvascular decompression of the facial nerve in a series of patients suffering from hemifacial spasm who had been referred to the skull-base team (comprising senior authors DAM and DGH). The paper is a retrospective review of 15 patients who underwent retrosigmoid microvascular decompression of the facial nerve at Addenbrooke's Hospital between 1985 and 1995. In this series it was possible to obtain complete resolution of hemifacial spasm in 93.3 per cent of cases in the short term and in 80 per cent in the long term. Twelve patients (80 per cent) were symptom-free post-operatively. Two patients had minor recurrence of symptoms occurring within six months of the procedure. One patient with no identifiable vascular impingement of the facial nerve had no improvement following surgery. Three patients suffered sensorineural hearing loss. Two patients complained of post-operative tinnitus, and transient facial palsy was noted in one patient.
Retrosigmoid microvascular decompression of the facial nerve provides excellent long-term symptom control in a high percentage of patients with hemifacial spasm.