In patients with hemifacial spasm (HFS) the spasm is due to cross compression of the facial nerve by a blood vessel and microvascular decompression (MVD) has proved to be a successful treatment. Abnormal muscle response (AMR), which can be elicited by one facial nerve branch stimulation in muscles innervated by other branches of the facial nerve, is specific for patients with HFS, and the AMR consists of a constant response occurring about 10 ms after stimulus and an afterdischarge with long duration (variable response, autoexcitation). The F-wave in facial muscles is a small recurrent discharge that antidromically propagates to the facial motonucleus and returns orthodromically down the same axon. We measured the AMRs and F-waves of facial muscles in HFS patients in order to investigate the relationship of both potentials and the origin of the AMRs. We obtained facial nerve evoked electromyograms from 10 HFS patients. The afterdischarges of the AMRs and the enhanced F-waves were always elicited at the same time by marginal mandibular branch stimulation of the facial nerve. There was a linear correlation between the duration of these two potentials in each case. Between the duration of the afterdischarge of the AMRs elicited in the mentalis muscles by the zygomatic branch stimulation of the facial nerve and that of the F-waves in the mentalis muscles, there was also a linear correlation in 10 cases. These results suggest that the F-wave and the afterdischarge have the same origin and that the AMR is an exaggerated F-wave.
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