The clinical term “Microvascular Decompression (MVD)” refers to a surgery that relieves the symptoms (pain, muscle twitching) of abnormal compression of a cranial nerve. Microvascular decompression process usually involves opening of the skull, known as craniotomy, and insertion of a tiny sponge between the compressing vessel and the nerve. The sponge helps to isolate the nerve from the pressure of the blood vessel.
This neurosurgical procedure mostly used to treat trigeminal neuralgia, glossopharyngeal neuralgia, or hemifacial spasm. Clinicians also used this technique experimentally to treat vertigo and tinnitus caused by vascular compression on the vestibulocochlear nerve. Trigeminal neuralgia results in due to the irritation of the 5th cranial nerve causing severe pain that usually affects one side of the face, normally in the forehead, cheek, jaw, or teeth 1.
Surgeons place a sponge in between the trigeminal nerve and the superior cerebellar artery or a branch of the petrosal vein as a treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. Whenever the compression removes, the painful symptoms diminished subsequently. Sometimes medication provides initial relief, but that’s not the permanent solution.
Research estimates the annual incidence rate of trigeminal neuralgia near about 5.7 per 100,000 women and 2.5 per 100,000 men, approximately 2. The prevalence of incidence increases with age and peak incidence lies in people between 50 to 60 years of age 3.
As we said earlier, microvascular decompression used to treat the patient with trigeminal neuralgia, glossopharyngeal neuralgia, or hemifacial spasm. Initially, drugs like antiepileptic/antineuralgic can provide excellent pain relief. However, 10% of patients will not respond to these drugs and will still qualify as candidates for MVD.
You will be a perfect candidate for MVD if develops 4:
Your surgeon won’t recommend you for the MDV surgery if you have some other medical conditions and poor body condition to overcome the general anesthesia. MDV may not be suitable for treating facial pain caused by multiple sclerosis and patients with hearing loss problem.
The Microvascular Decompression surgery requires an experienced neurosurgeon, a neurologist, an anesthesiologist, and an assistant to perform successfully. This operation generally takes 2 to 3 hours to perform. The entire process includes 5:
After this operation, you’ll stay in the hospital for a couple of days. Nurses will monitor your overall condition during these days to make sure no complications arise. A regular course of antibiotics will prevent any post-surgical infections in the surgical site. Talk to your surgeon in case of any post-surgical abnormalities.