Microvascular decompression is an effective treatment for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and hemifacial spasm (HFS). A complete cure cannot be obtained, and additional adjuncts for extended use of endoscopy are needed. The use of an endoscope combined with the operating microscope can enhance the surgeon's ability to view deep structures during operation. We study the application of combined microsurgical and endoscopic techniques in 21 cases of HFS and 12 cases of TN. With these techniques the surgeon can explore the ventral aspect of the brainstem and cranial nerves without further retraction, can see the groove caused by compression of the offending artery, and can confirm the proper position of the prosthesis after attachment to the dura by fibrin glue. In HFS the most common offending vessels in 75% of cases were the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) and anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) and in 25% of cases the vertebral artery (VA). In trigeminal neuralgia the offending vessel in 60% of cases was the superior cerebellar artery (SCA), and in 40% of cases the AICA. The overall success rate was 97% with minimal morbidity 3% (facial palsy) and no mortality. The aim of this work is to study advantages and disadvantages of using endoscopy during microvascular decompression for TN and HFS.
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