If conservative methods for hemifacial spasms don’t resolve the issue on a permanent basis, your doctor may suggest a surgical operation. Unlike botox injections, a surgical procedure can provide a long-term solution to your hemifacial spasm. Here’s what you can expect from the procedure.
Microvascular Decompression Surgery
The surgical procedure to correct a hemifacial spasm is known as a microvascular decompression operation, and it has wonderful results when performed by an experienced surgeon. The goal of the operation is to reposition the artery that irritates the facial nerve as it leaves the brainstem so that the spasms are stopped at the source.
The procedure begins by placing the patient under general anesthesia while laying on their stomach. Once the patient is sedated, the surgeon will begin by making a small incision behind the ear and then a small one-inch incision in the skull. This opening allows the surgeon to see the small blood vessel that is pressing on the facial nerve. Once located, the surgeon will maneuver the blood vessel so that it is not irritating the nerve.
After that, the surgeon will insert a tiny pad on the nerve which will prevent any future contact with the blood vessel. Once the pad is secured in place, the neurosurgeon will look for any other blood vessels that may be irritating the nerve and insert similar pads. After all blood vessels have been cared for, the surgeon will close the incision and you will be sent to a recovery room.
Recovery from a microvascular decompression is rather quick, and patients are typically discharged within a day or two. Facial spasms usually stop immediately after the decompression procedure, although some patients experience lessened symptoms for a week or two until they stop completely. They may also experience some weakened facial muscle movement in the first few days after surgery, but those are only temporary. Serious complications are rare, and the vast majority of patients who undergo this procedure are cured of their facial tics and need no further surgeries or medications.
So if you are dealing with facial spasms and want an experienced neurosurgeon to walk you through your treatment options, reach out to Dr. Chang. If conservative treatments don’t fix the issue, he can safely perform an operation to correct the problem like he has many times before. Reach out to his office for more information.