, Volume 140, Issue 6, pp 565-571

Prediction of Vertebral Artery Compression in Patients with Hemifacial Spasm Using Oblique Sagittal MR Imaging

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 To discriminate between the various compressing vessels of the facial nerves in patients with hemifacial spasm, pre-operative oblique sagittal gradient-echo MR imaging was performed. Forty-two patients underwent pre-operative MR imaging and microvascular decompression. The MR images were divided according to findings into three groups as follows: Group A, a thick and/or long high-intensity line along the root exit zone (REZ) of the facial nerve; Group B, a thin and/or short high-intensity line along the REZ; and Group C, an unreliable image around the REZ. Fifteen images were classified as Group A, 19 as Group B, and 8 as Group C. In Group A, vertebral artery (VA) compression was confirmed intra-operatively in 12 cases and posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) or anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) compression in 3. In Group B, PICA or AICA compression was confirmed intra-operatively in all cases. In Group C, PICA or AICA compression was confirmed intra-operatively in 7 cases and no compression in one. In all cases of VA compression of the facial nerve, the oblique sagittal gradient-echo images demonstrated a thick and/or long high intensity line along the REZ. Oblique sagittal gradient-echo MR imaging is a useful pre-operative planning aid, which can predict the possibility of VA compression prior to microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm.