Microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS) is a safe and effective treatment with favorable outcomes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence of delayed cranirve ( VI, VII, and VIII ) palsy following MVD and its clinical courses.
Between January 1998 and December 2009, 1354 patients underwent MVD for HFS at our institution. Of them, 100 patients (7.4%) experienced delayed facial palsy (DFP), one developed sixth nerve palsy, and one patient had delayed hearing loss.
DFP occurred between postoperative day number 2 and 23 (average 11 days). Ninety-two patients (92%) completely recovered; however, House-Brackmann grade II facial weakness remained in eight other patients (8%). The time to recovery averaged 64 days (range, 16 days to 9 months). Delayed isolated sixth nerve palsy recovered spontaneously without any medical or surgical treatment after 8 weeks, while delayed hearing loss did not improve.
Delayed cranial nerve (VI, VII, and VIII) palsies can occur following uncomplicated MVD for HFS. DFP is not an unusual complication after MVD, and prognosis is fairly good. Delayed sixth nerve palsy and delayed hearing loss are extremely rare complications after MVD for HFS. We should consider the possibility of development of these complications during the follow up for MVD.