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Daily bibliographic review of the Neurosurgery Department. La Fe University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

Glycerol rhizotomy and radiofrequency thermocoagulation for trigeminal neuralgia in multiple sclerosis

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J Neurosurg 118:329–336, 2013

Patients with trigeminal neuralgia due to multiple sclerosis (TN-MS) and idiopathic TN (ITN) who underwent glycerol rhizotomy (GR) and radiofrequency thermocoagulation with glycerol rhizotomy (RFTC-GR) were compared to investigate the effectiveness of these percutaneous ablative procedures in the TN-MS population.

Methods. Between 1998 and 2010, 822 patients with typical TN were evaluated; 63 (8%) had TN-MS and 759 (92%) had ITN. Pain relief comparisons were made between 22 GR procedures in patients with TN-MS and 470 GR procedures in patients with ITN; 50 RFTC-GR procedures in patients with TN-MS and 287 RFTC-GR procedures in patients with ITN were compared. Analysis of time to recurrence included only procedures that achieved complete pain relief without medications.

Results. After 15 of the GR procedures (68%) in patients with TN-MS and 315 of the procedures (67%) in those with ITN, the patients were pain free without medications (p = 0.736). After 36 of the RFTC-GR procedures (72%) in patients with TN-MS and 210 of the procedures (73%) in those with ITN, the patients were pain free without medications (p = 0.657). The difference in pain relief between GR and RFTC-GR for patients with TN-MS was not significant (p = 0.447). The median time to failure of GR was 20 months in patients with TN-MS compared with 25 months in those with ITN (p = 0.403). The median time to failure of RFTC-GR was 26 months in the TN-MS population compared with 21 months in the ITN population (p = 0.449). Patients with TN-MS experienced similar times to recurrence whether they were treated with GR or RFTC-GR (p = 0.431).

Conclusions. Pain relief and durability of relief outcomes of GR and RFTC-GR were similar in patients with TN-MS and ITN, reinforcing their use as preferred treatments of TN-MS. The GR and RFTC-GR achieved comparable outcomes in patients with TN-MS, suggesting that both can be used to good effect.

Category: Functional, Outcome, Pain

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