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Hemifacial spasm: evaluation by magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance tomographic angiography.

Annals of Neurology 1992 October
We evaluated 37 patients with hemifacial spasm and 16 age-matched control patients with other neurological disorders using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, MR angiography, and MR tomographic angiography. MR tomographic angiography is a new technique using computer reconstruction of MR angiographic images to create coronal angiotomes that display tissue and arterial structures on the same image. Twenty-four of 37 (64.9%) patients with hemifacial spasm had ipsilateral vascular compression of cranial nerve VII or the pons noted by this technique, whereas only 1 of 16 (6.3%) control patients had compression. MR imaging and MR angiography were less sensitive and less specific in evaluating for vascular compression. This study supports vascular compression of cranial nerve VII or the pons as a cause of hemifacial spasm, and demonstrates MR tomographic angiography's value as an excellent, noninvasive technique to demonstrate the compression.

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