Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 160, Issue 5, pp 963–970 | Cite as

Intraoperative monitoring of Z-L response (ZLR) and abnormal muscle response (AMR) during microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm. Interpreting the role of ZLR

  • Byung-chul Son
  • Hak-cheol Ko
  • Jin-gyu Choi
Original Article - Functional



Z-L response (ZLR) has been suggested to a new electromyographic (EMG) potential recorded from the facial muscle of patient with hemifacial spasm (HFS) during microvascular decompression (MVD). Although ZLR has been suggested to be useful, experience of ZLR monitoring is limited and its significance during MVD is still unclear.


To investigate the significance of ZLR, both ZLR and abnormal muscle response (AMR) were simultaneously recorded before and after decompression of root exit zone (REZ) in 20 consecutive patients with HFS.


All 19 AMRs elicited before REZ decompression disappeared immediately after decompression of REZ. ZLRs were also observed before decompression of REZ in 19 (95%) of 20 patients. Despite negative conversion of AMR after decompression in 19 patients, ZLR disappeared in only 13 (68.4%) of 19 patients. Among six sustained ZLRs, three showed reduction in the intensity of ZLRs while the other three remained unchanged. There were nine cases featuring attachment of the distal, non-offending portion of offending vessels to the distal course of the facial nerve in addition to attachment to REZ. Negative ZLR conversion and presence of peripheral contact of offending vessels to distal facial nerves showed significant correlations (p < 0.05). ZLR could be elicited by electrical stimulation at non-REZ-offending portion of the offending arterial wall, attached to the distal course of the facial nerve. HFS disappeared immediately in all 20 patients.


Although ZLR might be helpful in cases with multiple offenders, interpretation of ZLR needs caution for non-specific transmission of electric current through vessel wall to facial nerve.


Abnormal muscle response Hemifacial spasm Microvascular decompression Z-L response 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with ethical standards of the institutional and/or National Research Committee and the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of retrospective study, formal consent was not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of MedicineThe Catholic University of KoreaSeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Catholic Neuroscience Institute, College of MedicineThe Catholic University of KoreaSeoulRepublic of Korea

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