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Microvascular decompression

A minimally invasive procedure to relieve neurovascual nerve compression

About

Microvascular decompression is a procedure which aims to relieve pressure from an artery on a cranial nerve — nerves which enter and leave the brain stem directly and pass through the skull base.

The procedure treats a range of neurovascular compression syndromes, including:
Trigeminal neuralgia. A chronic pain disorder causing severe, electric shock-like pain in one side of the face.
Glossopharyngeal neuralgia. Extreme pain in the back of the throat, tongue and ear.
Hemifacial spasm. Involuntary muscle spasms on one side of the face.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic, so you'll be asleep throughout. Your surgeon will make a small hole in the skull behind the ear. An endoscope (camera) will be then be passed through it. The camera on the endoscope allows your surgeon to view the nerves as they leave the brainstem without the need for a large incision or retraction. Once the blood vessels compressing the nerves have been identified, the surgeon will separate the nerve and blood vessels using long instruments. This will release (decompresses) the nerve. The area will sealed and the muscles and skin sutured back together. 
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your neurosurgeon will explain your procedure to you and answer any questions you might have. Because you'll be having general anaesthetic, they'll let you know how long you should avoid eating and drinking before surgery. You may also be asked to attend a nurse-led pre-assessment clinic. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
     
  • Afterwards icon plus

    After your microvascular decompression procedure, you'll be transferred to our recovery ward, where you’ll be looked after by a specialist team. Your neurosurgeon will explain your recovery time to you and when you can expect to get back to your usual routine.
Consultant with patient

Our consultants

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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