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August 1978

Hemifacial Spasm Due to Aneurysmal Compression of the Facial Nerve

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurological Surgery (Drs Maroon and Lunsford), and Radiology (Dr Deeb), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh.

Arch Neurol. 1978;35(8):545-546. doi:10.1001/archneur.1978.00500320065015

• Hemifacial spasm developed in a woman as the only symptom of an aneurysm of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery. Using microdissecting techniques, the aneurysm was clipped and moved from its distorting position at the brain stem exit zone of the seventh nerve. After surgery, she experienced immediate relief of her facial spasm of six years' duration.

This case supports the finding that hemifacial spasm may be caused by vascular lesions of the seventh nerve at the brain stem junction. Recent surgical experience indicates that the majority of the hemifacial spasm cases may be due to normal but ectatic blood vessels that cross-compress the most proximal portion of the seventh nerve. Relief may be affected without facial paralysis by a retromastoid microvascular decompressive procedure.

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