Objective: A rare case of cerebellopontine angle arachnoid cyst manifesting as hemifacial spasm (HFS) is reported. The patient is a 42-year-old woman with 10-month history of left HFS. A preoperative magnetic resonance imaging scan showed a well-demarcated area, hypointense on T1-weighted imaging and hyperintense on T2-weighted imaging, in the left cerebellopontine angle, without contrast enhancement, resembling an arachnoid cyst.
Methods: The cyst was excised with microneurosurgical technique and the facial, vestibular, and acoustic nerves were completely decompressed from the arachnoid wall.
Results: The postoperative course was uneventful, and the left HFS disappeared immediately. Histologically, the cyst wall was a typical arachnoidal membrane. Ten months after surgery, the patient is symptom free.
Conclusion: It is well-known that in approximately 10% of cases, trigeminal neuralgia can be caused by a space-occupying mass. However, the fact that HFS can also be caused by organic lesions as well as neurovascular compression is less well-known. Although the occurrence of tumor compression causing HFS has been previously recognized, cerebellopontine angle cysts have very rarely been described. The observation of a patient with a cerebellopontine angle arachnoid cyst causing HFS prompted us to review the literature relative to HFS caused by an organic lesion rather than neurovascular compression.