OBJECTIVE: Microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS) involving the vertebral artery (VA) can be technically challenging. We investigated the therapeutic effects of a bioglue-coated Teflon sling technique on the VA during MVD in 42 cases. METHODS: A bioglue-coated Teflon sling was crafted by the surgeon and applied to patients in whom neurovascular compression was caused by the VA. The radiologic data, intra-operative findings with detailed introduction of the procedure, and the clinical outcomes of each patient were reviewed and analyzed. RESULTS: The 42 patients included in the analysis consisted of 22 females and 20 males, with an average follow-up duration of 76 months (range 24-132 months). Intraoperative investigation revealed that an artery other than the VA was responsible for the neurovascular compression in all cases : posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) in 23 patients (54.7%) and anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) in 11 patients (26.2%). All patients became symptom-free after MVD. Neither recurrence nor postoperative neurological deficit was noted during the 2-year follow-up, except in one patient who developed permanent deafness. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak occurred in three patients, and one required dural repair. CONCLUSION: Transposition of the VA using a bioglue-coated Teflon sling is a safe and effective surgical technique for HFS involving the VA. A future prospective study to compare clinical outcomes between groups with and without use of this novel technique is required.
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