6 October 2021
To assess efficacy and safety of a newly developed decompression technique in microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm (HFS) with vertebral artery (VA) involvement.
A rigid Teflon (Bard ® PTFE Felt Pledget, USA) with the ends placed between the lower pons and the flocculus creates a free space over the root exit zone (REZ) of the facial nerve (bridge technique). The bridge technique and the conventional sling technique for VA-related neurovascular compression were compared retrospectively in 60 patients. Elapsed time for decompression, number of Teflon pieces used during the procedure, and incidences of intraoperative manipulation to the lower cranial nerves were investigated. Postoperative outcomes and complications were retrospectively compared in both techniques.
The time from recognition of the REZ to completion of the decompression maneuvers was significantly shorter, and fewer Teflon pieces were required in the bridge technique than in the sling technique. Lower cranial nerve manipulations were performed less in the bridge technique. Although statistical analyses revealed no significant differences in surgical outcomes except spasm-free at postoperative 1 month, the bridge technique is confirmed to provide spasm-free outcomes in the long-term without notable complications.