The clinical and operative findings are reviewed in 47 patients with intractable hemifacial spasm. The syndrome was classical in its features in 45 patients and atypical in two. Mechanical compression distortion of the root exit zone of the facial nerve was noted in all 47 patients. In 46 the abnormality was vascular cross-compression, usually by an arterial loop. In one patient, a small cholesteatoma was discovered and removed. Morbidity and postoperative results are discussed.