Hemifacial spasm secondary to middle ear cholesteatoma | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Hemifacial spasm secondary to middle ear cholesteatoma

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June 28, 2018
by Maheep Sohal, MD; Nicholas Karter, MD; Marc Eisen, MD, PhD


Hemifacial spasm is a peripheral myoclonus of the VIIth cranial nerve that is characterized by paroxysmal contraction of the muscles of facial expression. It exists in both primary and secondary forms. In rare cases, hemifacial spasm is caused by middle ear pathology. We describe the case of a 90-year-old man with recurrent cholesteatoma and tympanic segment fallopian canal dehiscence manifesting as right-sided hemifacial spasm. His history was significant for a right-sided tympanomastoidectomy for cholesteatoma 6 years earlier. Computed tomographic angiography performed to look for vascular compression of the facial nerve demonstrated a right middle ear opacification. Middle ear exploration revealed a completely dehiscent tympanic segment with cholesteatoma abutting the facial nerve. The overlying keratin debris and matrix were carefully dissected off, and facial nerve function was preserved. The final diagnosis was hemifacial spasm. During 14 months of postoperative follow-up, the patient experienced no further facial spasm.

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