Chinese, Lao army doctors partner in neurosurgery operation in Laos

Xinhua, February 17, 2023

The eighth dispatchment of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) medical expert team to Laos' Military Hospital 103 in the capital Vientiane have worked with their Lao colleagues to conclude the country's first microvascular decompression operation for hemifacial spasm.

The patient, with a left hemifacial spasm, has been convulsing involuntarily for more than four years since the onset of the disease in 2019, which seriously troubles the patient's daily life, according to the expert team on Thursday.

Microvascular decompression surgery for hemifacial spasms had never been carried out in Laos and patients could only go to other countries to seek treatment.

After hearing that the Chinese experts had successfully performed the first trigeminal neuralgia microvascular decompression surgery in Laos, the patient went to Hospital 103.

The key to the success of hemifacial spasm surgery lies in the separation and isolation of the responsible blood vessels that compress the Root Entry Zone (REZ) of the facial nerve during surgery, so accurate evaluation of the vascular nerve relationship and accurate positioning of the blood vessel before surgery is essential for the successful implementation of the operation.

After thorough preoperative preparation, with professional cooperation from the neurosurgery department of Hospital 103, a neurosurgeon of the expert group Li Sanzhong performed a careful operation on the patient for up to two hours.

After the operation, the facial tics that had plagued the patient for four years completely disappeared. After several weeks of follow-up, the patient recovered well, and the facial convulsions did not recur.

Savengxay Salasath, director general of the Military Hospital 103, said the two parties plan to continue with training and surgery, following the success of the recent collaboration between the Lao Army medical team and specialists from the Chinese PLA, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday.