Current Issue - March/April 2024 - Vol 27 Issue 3


  1. 2024;27;E355-E361Comparison of Radiofrequency Ablation and Craniotomy Microvascular Decompression for Treatment of Hemifacial Spasm
    Prospective Study
    Huidan Lin, MD, Shun Zhang, MD, Xiang Gao, PhD, Lei Wu, MD, Gang Cao, MD, Lina Xuan, MD, Yuyue Xun, MD, Yongqing Liu, MD, Changshun Huang, MD, and Bing Huang, MD.

BACKGROUND: Hemifacial spasm (HFS) is distinguished by sudden and involuntary spasms of the facial muscles, predominantly on one side of the face. Microvascular decompression (MVD) is an efficacious surgical technique for treating HFS; however, MVD may occasionally lead to noteworthy postoperative complications. Previously, we reported the successful utilization of an innovative awake computed tomography-guided percutaneous puncture of the stylomastoid foramen for administering radiofrequency ablation (RFA) therapy in the treatment of HFS.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective clinical research study.

SETTING: Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medical Center, Ningbo, China.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to compare and contrast the clinical outcomes and adverse reactions associated with attempts to use RFA and MVD to manage primary HFS.

METHODS: Three hundred patients received either RFA or MVD treatment (Group R and Group M). We tracked and recorded each patient’s cure rate, remission rate, intraoperative and postoperative complications, short-term and long-term therapeutic outcomes, hospitalization duration, hospitalization expenses, and operation time.

RESULTS: One hundred and fifty-eight patients were placed in the R group, and 142 patients were sorted into the M group. In the R group, 87.34% of patients showed improvement, 9.49% experienced relief, and 3.16% experienced treatment failure. Similarly, in the M group, 85.92% of patients showed improvement, 10.56% experienced relief, and 3.52% experienced treatment failure. The difference in therapeutic efficacy between the 2 groups was not significant. However, the M group had significantly lower recurrence rates at 3 months, 6 months, and one year post-operation than the R group did. Notably, the M group also experienced a higher rate of postoperative complications. Among the complications reported in the M group were 25 cases of dizziness or headache (17.6%) following the operation, 22 cases of hearing damage, including one case of complete hearing loss on the side involved, and 28 cases of peripheral nerve injury with abnormal skin sensation. Postoperative facial paralysis occurred in 15 patients, including 10 cases of moderate to severe facial paralysis that were relieved to grade II after one year. In comparison, the R group had 40 cases of grade II and 53 cases of grade III, and no cases of more severe facial paralysis were found. There were also 13 cases of peripheral nerve injury, such as local skin numbness and tenderness. Importantly, there were no cases of facial hematoma, intracranial hemorrhage, infection, or any other complications in either group, and no fatalities occurred during the study period.

LIMITATIONS: The limitations of this study are the exclusion of transient postoperative complications, the lack of in-person follow-up with patients, and the potential underestimation of certain complications.

CONCLUSION: The short-term outcome was found to be comparable between the 2 treatment modalities. Notably, RFA demonstrates both safety and efficacy as a method for managing primary HFS; however, the procedure may lead to mild facial paralysis. In situations during which surgery is contraindicated, especially among elderly or high-risk surgical patients, percutaneous facial nerve RFA at the stylomastoid foramen may be considered as an alternative therapeutic approach.

KEY WORDS: Hemifacial spasm, radiofrequency ablation, stylomastoid foramen, microvascular decompression