Microvascular decompression for spasmodic torticollis

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 1995;134(1-2):21-6. doi: 10.1007/BF01428497.


Twenty patients with spasmodic torticollis (ST) were treated by microvascular decompression (MVD) of the spinal accessory nerves, the upper cervical nerve roots and the brainstem. Thirteen were female and seven male. Median age was 47 years (range 39 to 70 years). Median duration of symptoms was 5 years (range 4 months to 17 years). Ten had right horizontal; nine, left horizontal; and one, retrocollis ST. Twenty-two operations were performed on twenty patients, suboccipital craniectomy and C1 laminectomy in 18 and retromastoid craniectomy in 4 operations. The most common compressing blood vessels were the vertebral artery and/or the posterior inferior cerebellar artery. No nerve section was performed. Three patients died of unrelated conditions, 3, 5 1/2, and 6 years postoperatively, respectively. Minimum follow-up period in the rest of the cases is 5 years (range 5 to 10 years). Thirteen (65%) were cured, four (20%) improved with minimal spasm, one (5%) improved with moderate spasm, and two (10%) improved minimally or unchanged. In most cases the cure or improvement was noticed gradually over 6 months to two years following the operation. There was no operative mortality. Postoperative morbidities included transient cerebrospinal fluid leakage through the surgical incision in one case and an apparent multiple small vessel stroke involving periventricular white matter in one reoperation case with full recovery. MVD for ST is a nondestructive benign procedure with high probability of cure or significant improvement.

MeSH terms

  • Accessory Nerve / blood supply
  • Accessory Nerve / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arteries / surgery
  • Brain Stem / blood supply
  • Brain Stem / surgery
  • Cerebellum / blood supply
  • Craniotomy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laminectomy
  • Male
  • Microsurgery / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / complications
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / surgery*
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / blood supply
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / surgery
  • Torticollis / etiology
  • Torticollis / surgery*
  • Vertebral Artery / surgery