Surgical outcome and improvement in quality of life after microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasms: a case series assessment using a validated disease-specific scale.

Stereotact Funct Neurosurg 2010 15;88(6):383-9. Epub 2010 Oct 15.

Department of Neurological Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oreg. 97239, USA.

Background: Hemifacial spasm (HFS) is a movement disorder characterized by intermittent, involuntary clonic or tonic-clonic contractions of muscles innervated by the ipsilateral facial nerve. Recent studies have documented change in quality of life after HFS management with botulinum toxin injection. However, we failed to locate any study that documented change in quality of life after surgical management with retrosigmoid microvascular decompression (MVD).

Methods: Our study objectives were 3-fold. Firstly, to use a disease-specific, validated quality of life assessment scale to document any change in quality of life after MVD for HFS. Secondly, to determine the time period in which the majority of patients undergoing MVD could be expected to benefit from surgery. Finally, to determine factors affecting the postoperative quality of life following MVD. A retrospective analysis of HFS patients treated with MVD at a single institution by a single surgeon (K.J.B.) between January 2000 and December 2007 was undertaken. A modification of a previously developed validated disease-specific quality of life assessment scale that included the addition of a parameter for difficulty in sleep was used to assess quality of life before and after surgery.

Results: A total of 21 patients (14 female and 7 male) underwent treatment as specified. Eighty-five percent (17/20) of the patients reported prolonged remission of symptoms (mean follow-up period = 4.15 years). Five percent (1/20) reported occasional recurrence of twitches. The overall mean quality of life score improved from 11.1 preoperatively to 2.2 postoperatively.

Conclusions: MVD offers significant and prolonged improvement in quality of life for the HFS patients we studied, as measured using a disease-specific, validated quality of life assessment scale. Postoperative quality of life, however, was strongly influenced by both the success of surgery in resolving the symptoms and the absence of any permanent complications of surgery.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000319883DOI Listing
September 2011
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