Neurosurgery Blog

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

Quantitative study of the correlation between cerebellar retraction factors and hearing loss following microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm

Acta Neurochir (2018) 160:145–150

This prospective study quantitatively measured the cerebellar retraction factors, including retraction distance, depth and duration, and evaluated their potential relationship to the development of hearing loss after microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS).

Methods One hundred ten patients with primary HFS who underwent MVD in our department were included into this study. The cerebellar retraction factors were quantitatively measured on preoperative MR and timed during MVD. Associations of cerebellar retraction and other factors to postoperative hearing loss were analyzed.

Results Eleven (10%) patients developed hearing loss after MVD. Compared with the group without hearing loss, the cerebellar retraction distance, depth and duration of the group with hearing loss were significantly greater (p < 0.05). Multivariate regression analysis showed that greater cerebellar retraction depth and longer retraction duration were significantly associated with a higher incidence of postoperative hearing impairment (p < 0.05).

Conclusion This study strongly suggested a correlation between the cerebellar retraction factors, especially retraction depth and duration, and possibility of hearing loss following MVD for HFS.

 

Long-term follow-up of multimodality treatment for multiple sclerosis-related trigeminal neuralgia

Acta Neurochir (2018) 160:135–144

The treatment for multiple sclerosis-related trigeminal neuralgia (MS-TN) is less efficacious and associated with higher recurrence rates than classical TN. No consensus has been reached in the literature on the choice procedure for MS-TN patients. The aim of this study was to assess the incidence and surgical outcomes of medically refractory MS-TN.

Methods Patient records were retrospectively reviewed for all Manitobans undergoing first procedure for medically refractory MS-TN between 2000 and 2014. Subsequent procedures were then recorded and analyzed in this subgroup of patients. The primary outcome measure was time to treatment failure.

Results The incidence of medically refractory MS-TN was 1.2/million/year. Twenty-one patients with 26 surgically treated sides underwent first rhizotomy including 13 GammaKnife and 13 percutaneous rhizotomies comprised of ten glycerol injections and three balloon compressions. Subsequent procedures were required on 23 sides (88%), including 24 GammaKnife, 19 glycerol injections, 25 balloon compressions, two microvascular decompressions, and four open partial surgical rhizotomies with a total of 99 surgeries on 26 sides (range, 1–12 each).

Conclusions The majority of MS-TN patients become medically refractory and require multiple repeat surgical procedures. MS-TN procedures were associated with high rates of pain recurrence and our data suggests reoperation within 1 year is often necessary. Optimal management strategy in this patient population remains to be determined. Patients need to be counseled on managing expectations as treatments commonly afford only temporary relief.

Intraoperative monitoring of sensory part of the trigeminal nerve using blink reflex during microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:165–169

Intraoperative monitoring during cerebellopontine angle surgery is widely accepted. While techniques which monitor cranial motor nerves are commonly used, monitoring the sensory afferents has been challenging. Considering the reflex arc, blink reflex (BR) might be useful in monitoring the sensory part of the trigeminal nerve, the brainstem connections and the facial nerve.

We describe the case of a patient who developed hemifacial hypoesthesia after microvascular decompression surgery for trigeminal neuralgia. Intraoperative BR showed a severe loss of R1 amplitude.

BR might be a useful intraoperative technique to monitor the sensory part of the trigeminal nerve.

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Prospective comparison of long-term pain relief rates after first-time microvascular decompression and stereotactic radiosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia

J Neurosurg 128:68–77, 2018

Common surgical treatments for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) include microvascular decompression (MVD), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), and radiofrequency ablation (RFA). Although the efficacy of each procedure has been described, few studies have directly compared these treatment modalities on pain control for TN. Using a large prospective longitudinal database, the authors aimed to 1) directly compare long-term pain control rates for first-time surgical treatments for idiopathic TN, and 2) identify predictors of pain control.

METHODS The authors reviewed a prospectively collected database for all patients who underwent treatment for TN between 1997 and 2014 at the University of California, San Francisco. Standardized collection of data on preoperative clinical characteristics, surgical procedure, and postoperative outcomes was performed. Data analyses were limited to those patients who received a first-time procedure for treatment of idiopathic TN with > 1 year of follow-up.

RESULTS Of 764 surgical procedures performed at the University of California, San Francisco, for TN (364 SRS, 316 MVD, and 84 RFA), 340 patients underwent first-time treatment for idiopathic TN (164 MVD, 168 SRS, and 8 RFA) and had > 1 year of follow-up. The analysis was restricted to patients who underwent MVD or SRS. Patients who received MVD were younger than those who underwent SRS (median age 63 vs 72 years, respectively; p < 0.001). The mean follow-up was 59 ± 35 months for MVD and 59 ± 45 months for SRS. Approximately 38% of patients who underwent MVD or SRS had > 5 years of follow-up (60 of 164 and 64 of 168 patients, respectively). Immediate or short-term (< 3 months) postoperative pain-free rates (Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity score of I) were 96% for MVD and 75% for SRS. Percentages of patients with Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity score of I at 1, 5, and 10 years after MVD were 83%, 61%, and 44%, and the corresponding percentages after SRS were 71%, 47%, and 27%, respectively. The median time to pain recurrence was 94 months (25th–75th quartiles: 57–131 months) for MVD and 53 months (25th–75th quartiles: 37–69 months) for SRS (p = 0.006). A subset of patients who had MVD also underwent partial sensory rhizotomy, usually in the setting of insignificant vascular compression. Compared with MVD alone, those who underwent MVD plus partial sensory rhizotomy had shorter pain-free intervals (median 45 months vs no median reached; p = 0.022). Multivariable regression demonstrated that shorter preoperative symptom duration (HR 1.005, 95% CI 1.001–1.008; p = 0.006) was associated with favorable outcome for MVD and that post-SRS sensory changes (HR 0.392, 95% CI 0.213–0.723; p = 0.003) were associated with favorable outcome for SRS.

CONCLUSIONS In this longitudinal study, patients who received MVD had longer pain-free intervals compared with those who underwent SRS. For patients who received SRS, postoperative sensory change was predictive of favorable outcome. However, surgical decision making depends upon many factors. This information can help physicians counsel patients with idiopathic TN on treatment selection.

The tethered effect of the arachnoid in vago-glossopharyngeal neuralgia: a real associated alternative mechanism?

Acta Neurochir (2018) 160:151–155

Vago-glossopharyngeal neuralgia (VGPN) is a rarely seen disease when compared to trigeminal neuralgia. When the pain is resistant to medical therapy, microvascular decompression can be performed if a vascular conflict is suspected on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In addition, arachnoid pathology may play a role in VGPN. We report two cases of VGPN caused by tethered arachnoid, associated with a vascular contact in which pain was reduced by freeing rootlets from arachnoid compression.

We report two cases relating to 50-year-old and 30-year-old men with a history of electric shooting pain triggered by swallowing in the right pharyngeal and auricular regions. Preoperative MRI documented a neurovascular conflict in the first case and an arachnoid cyst in the second. Surgery was performed via a retrosigmoid craniotomy. In both cases, the intraoperative findings documented a tethered arachnoid membrane compressive to cranial nerves IX and X. Untethering was performed by liberation of the rootlets from the arachnoid with microvascular decompression. No additional rhizotomy was performed. The postoperative course was uneventful and pain was relieved in the first case and decreased in the second.

In VGPN, a tethered arachnoid may play a role in causing the neuralgia, either alone or associated with a neuro-vascular conflict.

Microvascular decompression for glossopharyngeal neuralgia: a retrospective analysis of 228 cases

Acta Neurochir (2018) 160:117–123

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) is an uncommon craniofacial pain syndrome caused by neurovascular conflict. Compared to trigeminal neuralgia or hemifacial spasm, the incidence of GPN was very low. Until now, little is known about the long-term outcome following microvascular decompression (MVD) process.

Methods Between 2006 and 2016, 228 idiopathic GPN patients underwent MVD in our department. Those cases were retrospectively reviewed with emphasis on intraoperative findings and long-term postoperative outcomes. The average period of follow-up was 54.3 ± 6.2 months.

Results Intraoperatively, the culprit was identified as the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) in 165 cases (72.3%), the vertebral artery (VA) in 14 (6.1%), vein in 10 (4.4%), and a combination of multiple arteries or venous offending vessels in 39 (17.2%). The immediately postoperative outcome was excellent in 204 cases (89.5%), good in 12 (5.3%), fair in 6 (2.6%) and poor in 6 (2.6%). More than 5-year follow-up was obtained in 107 cases (46.9%), which presented as excellent in 93 (86.9%), good in 6 (5.6%), fair in 3 (2.8%) and poor in 5 (4.7%). Thirty-seven (16.2%) of the patients experienced some postoperative neurological deficits immediately, such as dysphagia, hoarseness and facial paralysis, which has been improved at the last follow-up in most cases, except 2.

Conclusions This investigation demonstrated that MVD is a safe and effective remedy for treatment of GPN.

Efficacy of deep rTMS for neuropathic pain in the lower limb: a randomized, double-blind crossover trial of an H-coil and figure-8 coil

J Neurosurg 127:1172–1180, 2017

Electrical motor cortex stimulation can relieve neuropathic pain (NP), but its use requires patients to undergo an invasive procedure. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the primary motor cortex (M1) using a figure-8 coil can relieve NP noninvasively, but its ability to relieve lower limb pain is still limited. Deep rTMS using an H-coil can effectively stimulate deep brain regions and has been widely used for the treatment of various neurological diseases; however, there have been no clinical studies comparing the effectiveness of figure-8 coils and H-coils. This study assessed the clinical effectiveness of 5 once-daily stimulations with H-coils and figure-8 coils in patients with NP.

METHODS This randomized, double-blind, 3-way crossover trial examined 18 patients with NP who sequentially received 3 types of stimulations in the M1 for 5 consecutive days; each 5-day stimulation period was followed by a 17-day follow-up period before crossing over to the next type of stimulation. During each rTMS session, patients received a 5-Hz rTMS to the M1 region corresponding to the painful lower limb. The visual analog scale (VAS) and the Japanese version of the short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire 2 (SF-MPQ2-J) were used to measure pain intensity. The primary outcome was VAS score reduction immediately after and 1 hour after intervention.

RESULTS Both the VAS and SF-MPQ2-J showed significant pain improvement immediately after deep rTMS with an H-coil as compared with the sham group (p < 0.001 and p = 0.049, respectively). However, neither outcome measure showed significant pain improvement when using a figure-8 coil. The VAS also showed significant pain improvement 1 hour after deep rTMS with an H-coil (p = 0.004) but not 1 hour after rTMS using a figure-8 coil. None of the patients exhibited any serious adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS The current findings suggest that the use of deep rTMS with an H-coil in the lower limb region of the M1 in patients with NP was tolerable and could provide significant short-term pain relief.

Clinical trial registration no.: UMIN000010536 (http://www.umin.ac.jp/ctr/) https://thejns.org/doi/abs/10.3171/2016.9.JNS16815

 

Long-term outcomes of microvascular decompression and Gamma Knife surgery for trigeminal neuralgia: a retrospective comparison study

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:2127–2135

There is still no clear guideline for surgical treatment for patients with medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN). When it comes to which surgical treatment to choose, microvascular decompression (MVD) or Gamma Knife surgery (GKS), we should know the long-term outcome of each treatment.

Methods We analyzed 179 patients undergoing MVD and 52 patients undergoing GKS followed for 1 year or longer. We evaluated the patient’s neurological status including pain relief, complications and recurrence. Results were assessed with Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity and facial numbness scores. Overall outcomes were compared between the two groups based on pain relief and complications.

Results BNI pain intensity and facial numbness scores at the final visit were significantly lower in the MVD group than in the GKS group (P < 0.001, P = 0.04, respectively). Overall outcomes were superior following MVD than following GKS (P < 0.001). Following whichever treatment, there were initially high rates of pain-free status “without medication”: 96.6% in the MVD group and 96.2% in the GKS group. However, 6.1% in the MVD group and 51.9% in the GKS group fell into a “with medication” state within median periods of 1.83 and 3.92 years, respectively (P < 0.001). Kaplan- Meier analysis revealed that pain recurred more often and later in the GKS group than in the MVD group (P < 0.001).

Conclusions Considering the long-term outcomes, MVD should be chosen as the initial surgical treatment for patients with medically refractory TN.

Nerve atrophy in trigeminal neuralgia due to neurovascular compression and its association with surgical outcomes after microvascular decompression

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:1699–1705

Idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is caused by neurovascular compression and is often related to morphological changes in the trigeminal nerve. The aim of this study was to quantitatively measure atrophic changes of trigeminal nerves in patients with TN, and to further investigate whether nerve atrophy affected the efficacy of microvascular decompression (MVD).

Methods We conducted a prospective case-control study of 60 consecutive patients with TN and 30 sex- and age-matched healthy controls. All subjects underwent high-resolution three-dimensional MRI. The volume of the cisternal segment of trigeminal nerves was measured and compared using 3D Slicer software. Patients with TN underwent primary MVD and regular follow-up for at least 2 years. Associations of nerve atrophy with patient characteristics and operative outcomes were analyzed.

Results The mean volume of the affected trigeminal nerve was significantly reduced in comparison to that of the nonaffected side (65.8 ± 21.1 versus 77.9 ± 19.3 mm3, P = 0.001) and controls (65.8 ± 21.1 versus 74.7 ± 16.5 mm3, P = 0.003). Fifty-two patients (86.7%) achieved complete pain relief without medication immediately after surgery, and 77.6% of patients were complete pain relief at the 2-year follow-up. The Spearman correlation test showed that there was a positive correlation (r=0.46, P = 0.018) between the degree of trigeminal nerve indentation and nerve atrophy. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, two factors, indentation on nerve root (OR = 2.968, P = 0.022) and degree of nerve atrophy (OR = 1.18, P = 0.035), were associated with the long-term outcome.

Conclusions TN is associated with atrophy on the affected nerve. Furthermore, greater nerve atrophy is associated with more severe trigeminal nerve indentation and better long-term outcome following MVD.

Trigeminal nerve contrast enhancement after radiosurgery

J Neurosurg 127:219–225, 2017

Contrast enhancement of the retrogasserian trigeminal nerve on MRI scans frequently develops after radiosurgical ablation for the management of medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN). The authors sought to evaluate the clinical significance of this imaging finding in patients who underwent a second radiosurgical procedure for recurrent TN.

METHODS During a 22-year period, 360 patients underwent Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as their first surgical procedure for TN at the authors’ center. The authors retrospectively analyzed the data from 59 patients (mean age 72 years, range 33–89 years) who underwent repeat SRS for recurrent pain at a median of 30 months (range 6–146 months) after the first SRS. The isocenter was 4 mm, and the median maximum doses for the first and second procedures were 80 Gy and 70 Gy, respectively. A neuroradiologist and a neurosurgeon blinded to the treated side evaluated the presence of nerve contrast enhancement on MRI series at the time of the repeat procedure. The authors correlated the presence of this imaging change with clinical outcomes. Pain outcomes and development of trigeminal sensory dysfunction were evaluated with the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) Pain Scale and BNI Numbness Scale, respectively. The mean length of follow-up after the second SRS was 58 months (95% CI 49–68 months).

RESULTS At the time of the repeat SRS, contrast enhancement of the trigeminal nerve on MRI scans was observed in 31 patients (53%). Five years after the SRS, patients with this enhancement had lower actuarial rates of complete pain relief after the repeat SRS (27% [95% CI 7%–47%]) than patients without the enhancement (76% [95% CI 58%–94%]) (p < 0.001). At the 5-year follow-up, patients with the contrast enhancement also had a higher risk for trigeminal sensory loss after repeat SRS (75% [95% CI 59%–91%]) than patients without contrast enhancement (26% [95% CI 10%–42%]) (p = 0.001). Dysesthetic pain after repeat SRS was observed for 8 patients with and for 2 patients without contrast enhancement.

CONCLUSIONS Trigeminal nerve contrast enhancement on MRI scans observed at the time of a repeat SRS for TN was associated with less satisfactory pain control and more frequently detected facial sensory loss. Residual contrast enhancement at the time of a repeat SRS may warrant consideration of dose reduction or further separation of the radiosurgical targets.

Efficacy of primary microvascular decompression versus subsequent microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia

J Neurosurg 126:1691–1697, 2017

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is characterized by intermittent, paroxysmal, and lancinating pain along the distribution of the trigeminal nerve. Microvascular decompression (MVD) directly addresses compression of the trigeminal nerve. The purpose of this study was to determine whether patients undergoing MVD as their first surgical intervention experience greater pain control than patients who undergo subsequent MVD.

METHODS A retrospective review of patient records from 1998 to 2015 identified a total of 942 patients with TN and 500 patients who underwent MVD. After excluding several cases, 306 patients underwent MVD as their first surgical intervention and 175 patients underwent subsequent MVD. Demographics and clinicopathological data and outcomes were obtained for analysis.

RESULTS In patients who underwent subsequent MVD, surgical intervention was performed at an older age (55.22 vs 49.98 years old, p < 0.0001) and the duration of symptoms was greater (7.22 vs 4.45 years, p < 0.0001) than for patients in whom MVD was their first surgical intervention. Patients who underwent initial MVD had improved pain relief and no improvement in pain rates compared with those who had subsequent MVD (95.8% and 4.2% vs 90.3% and 9.7%, respectively, p = 0.0041). Patients who underwent initial MVD had significantly lower rates of facial numbness in the pre- and postoperative periods compared with patients who underwent subsequent MVD (p < 0.0001). The number of complications in both groups was similar (p = 0.4572).

CONCLUSIONS The results demonstrate that patients who underwent other procedures prior to MVD had less pain relief and a higher incidence of facial numbness despite rates of complications similar to patients who underwent MVD as their first surgical intervention.

Trigeminal neuralgia due to venous neurovascular conflicts

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159: 237

Implication of veins as neurovascular conflict (NVC) in the genesis of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) remains a matter of debate. Few reports dealing with venous NVC have been published. The objective of this study is to describe the outcome in a historical cohort of consecutive patients with classical TN due to venous compression.

Methods: All patients with TN treated by microvascular decompression (MVD) from 2005 to 2013 were included if a marked venous compression was found at the surgery either alone or accompanied by an artery. Patients were evaluated for clinical presentation, operative findings and the long-term outcome. Outcome was considered favourable if patients were classed as BNI I or II (i.e. not requiring any medication). Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to determine probability of a favourable outcome at 10 years of follow-up.

Results:  Out of the overall series of 313 patients having been treated by MVD and considered for the study, in 55 (17.5 %) a vein was the main compressive vessel; in 26 (8.3 %) it was the only compressive vessel. Probability of relief with no need for medication at 10 years was 70.6 %. The patients with focal arachnoiditis had a poor long-term outcome, i.e. BNI III-V, in 85.7 % compared with 20.8 % without arachnoiditis (p = 0.0037 Fisher’s exact test). No differences in outcome were found between patients presenting with purely venous compression and patients with mixed compression. Outcome was similarly good for patients with atypical neuralgia when compared to patients with typical clinical presentation.

Conclusions: Venous NVC as a cause of TN is far from rare. MVD with complete liberation of the entire root in cases with clear-cut venous compression on imaging studies gives a good probability of long-term pain relief, thus encouraging to propose surgery for such patients.

Spinal Cord Stimulation for the Treatment of Chronic Back and Leg Pain

spinal-cord-stimulation-for-the-treatment-of-chronic-back-and-leg-pain

Neurosurgery 79:667–677, 201

Pain relief with spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has focused historically on paresthesias overlapping chronically painful areas. A higher level evidence supports the use of SCS in treating leg pain than supports back pain, as it is difficult to achieve adequate paresthesia coverage, and then pain relief, in the low back region. In comparison, 10-kHz high-frequency (HF10 therapy) SCS therapy does not rely on intraoperative paresthesia mapping and remains paresthesia-free during therapy. OBJECTIVE: To compare long-term results of HF10 therapy and traditional lowfrequency SCS.

METHODS: A pragmatic randomized, controlled, pivotal trial with 24-month follow-up was conducted across 11 comprehensive pain treatment centers. Subjects had Visual Analog Scale scores of$5.0/10.0 cmfor both back and leg pain, and were assigned randomly (1:1) to receive HF10 therapy or low-frequency SCS. The primary end point was a responder rate, defined as $50% back pain reduction from baseline at 3 months with a secondary end point at 12 months (previously reported). In this article, 24-month secondary results are presented. Non-inferiority was first assessed, and if demonstrated the results were tested for superiority.

RESULTS: In the study, 198 subjects were randomized (101 HF10 therapy, 97 traditional SCS). One hundred seventy-one subjects (90 HF10 therapy, 81 traditional SCS) successfully completed a short-term trial and were implanted. Subjects averaged 54.96 12.9 years old, 13.6 6 11.3 years since diagnosis, 86.6% had back surgery, 88.3% were taking opioid analgesics. At 3 months, 84.5% of implanted HF10 therapy subjects were responders for back pain and 83.1% for leg pain, and 43.8% of traditional SCS subjects were responders for back pain and 55.5% for leg pain (P , .001 for both back and leg pain comparisons, noninferiority and superiority). At 24 months, more subjects were responders to HF10 therapy than traditional SCS (back pain: 76.5% vs 49.3%; 27.2% difference, 95% CI, 10.1%-41.8%; P, .001 for non-inferiority and superiority; leg pain: 72.9% vs 49.3%; 23.6% difference, 95% CI, 5.9%-38.6%; P , .001 for non-inferiority and P = .003 for superiority). Also at 24 months, back pain decreased to a greater degree with HF10 therapy (66.9% 6 31.8%) than traditional SCS (41.1% 6 36.8%, P , .001 for non-inferiority and superiority). Leg pain also decreased to a greater degree with HF10 therapy (65.1% 6 36.0%) than traditional SCS (46.0% 6 40.4%, P , .001 for non-inferiority and P = .002 for superiority).

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates long-term superiority of HF10 therapy compared with traditional SCS in treating both back and leg pain. The advantages of HF10 therapy are anticipated to impact the management of chronic pain patients substantially.

Invasive Motor Cortex Stimulation for Trigeminal Facial Neuropathic Pain Syndromes

clinical_significance_of_invasive_motor_cortex

Neurosurgery 79:655–666, 2016

Invasive neuromodulation of the cortical surface for various chronic pain syndromes has been performed for .20 years. The significance of motor cortex stimulation (MCS) in chronic trigeminal neuropathic pain (TNP) syndromes remains unclear. Different techniques are performed worldwide in regard to operative procedure, stimulation parameters, test trials, and implanted materials.

OBJECTIVE: To present the clinical experiences of a single center with MCS, surgical approach, complications, and follow-up as a prospective, noncontrolled clinical trial.

METHODS: The implantation of epidural leads over the motor cortex was performed via a burr hole technique with neuronavigation and intraoperative neurostimulation. Special focus was placed on a standardized test trial with an external stimulation device and the implementation of a double-blinded or placebo test phase to identify falsepositive responders.

RESULTS: A total of 36 patients with TNP were operated on, and MCS was performed. In 26 of the 36 patients (72%), a significant pain reduction from a mean of 8.11 to 4.58 (on the visual analog scale) during the test trial was achieved (P , .05). Six patients were identified as false-positive responders (17%). At the last available follow-up of 26 patients (mean, 5.6 years), active MCS led to a significant pain reduction compared with the preoperative pain ratings (mean visual analog scale score, 5.01; P , .05).

CONCLUSION: MCS is an additional therapeutic option for patients with refractory chronic TNP, and significant long-term pain suppression can be achieved. Placebo or double-blinded testing is mandatory.

Long-term outcomes of intradural cervical dorsal root rhizotomy for refractory occipital neuralgia

ON

J Neurosurg 125:102–110, 2016

Occipital neuralgia (ON) causes chronic pain in the cutaneous distribution of the greater and lesser occipital nerves. The long-term efficacy of cervical dorsal root rhizotomy (CDR) in the management of ON has not been well described. The authors reviewed their 14-year experience with CDR to assess pain relief and functional outcomes in patients with medically refractory ON.

Methods A retrospective chart review of 75 ON patients who underwent cervical dorsal root rhizotomy, from 1998 to 2012, was performed. Fifty-five patients were included because they met the International Headache Society’s (IHS) diagnostic criteria for ON, responded to CT-guided nerve blocks at the C-2 dorsal nerve root, and had at least one follow-up visit. Telephone interviews were additionally used to obtain data on patient satisfaction.

Results Forty-two patients (76%) were female, and the average age at surgery was 46 years (range 16–80). Average follow up was 67 months (range 5–150). Etiologies of ON included the following: idiopathic (44%), posttraumatic (27%), postsurgical (22%), post–cerebrovascular accident (4%), postherpetic (2%), and postviral (2%). At last follow-up, 35 patients (64%) reported full pain relief, 11 (20%) partial relief, and 7 (16%) no pain relief. The extent of pain relief after CDR was not significantly associated with ON etiology (p = 0.43). Of 37 patients whose satisfaction-related data were obtained, 25 (68%) reported willingness to undergo repeat surgery for similar pain relief, while 11 (30%) reported no such willingness; a single patient (2%) did not answer this question. Twenty-one individuals (57%) reported that their activity level/functional state improved after surgery, 5 (13%) reported a decline, and 11 (30%) reported no difference. The most common acute postoperative complications were infections in 9% (n = 5) and CSF leaks in 5% (n = 3); chronic complications included neck pain/stiffness in 16% (n = 9) and upper-extremity symptoms in 5% (n = 3) such as trapezius weakness, shoulder pain, and arm paresthesias.

Conclusions Cervical dorsal root rhizotomy provides an efficacious means for pain relief in patients with medically refractory ON. In the appropriately selected patient, it may lead to optimal outcomes with a relatively low risk of complications.

Neurosurgical treatment of glossopharyngeal neuralgia: analysis of 103 cases

GP neuralgia

J Neurosurg 124:1088–1092, 2016

The object of this study was to investigate the immediate and long-term follow-up results of glossopharyngeal nerve rhizotomy (GPNR) with or without partial vagus nerve rhizotomy (VNR) for treating glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN).

Methods A retrospective review of the case notes of patients who had undergone surgery for GPN in the authors’ department between 2008 and 2013 was performed to investigate baseline characteristics and immediate outcomes during the hospitalization. For the long-term results, a telephone survey was performed, and information on pain recurrence and permanent complications was collected. Pain relief meant no pain or medication, any pain persisting after surgery was considered to be treatment failure, and any pain returning during the follow-up period was considered to be pain recurrence. For comparative study, the patients were divided into 2 cohorts, that is, patients treated with GPNR alone and those treated with GPNR+VNR.

Results One hundred three procedures, consisting of GPNR alone in 38 cases and GPNR+VNR in 65 cases, were performed in 103 consecutive patients with GPN. Seventy-nine of the 103 patients could be contacted for the follow-up study, with a mean follow-up duration of 2.73 years (range 1 month–5.75 years). While there were similar results (GPNR vs GPNR+VNR) in immediate pain relief rates (94.7% vs 93.8%), immediate complication rates (7.9% vs 4.6%), and longterm pain relief rates (92.3% vs 94.3%) between the 2 cohorts, a great difference was seen in long-term complications (3.8% vs 35.8%). The long-term complication rate for the combined GPNR+VNR cohort was 9.4 times higher than that in the GPNR cohort. There was no operative or perioperative mortality. Immediate complications occurred in 6 cases, consisting of poor wound healing in 3 cases, and CSF leakage, hoarseness, and dystaxia in 1 case each. Permanent complications occurred in 20 patients (25.3%) and included cough while drinking in 10 patients, pharyngeal discomfort in 8 patients, and hoarseness and dysphagia in 1 case each.

Conclusions In general, this study indicates that GPNR alone or in combination with VNR is a safe, simple, and effective treatment option for GPN. It may be especially valuable for patients who are not suitable for the microvascular decompression (MVD) procedure and for surgeons who have little experience with MVD. Of note, this study renews the significance of GPNR alone, which, the authors believe, is at least valuable for a subgroup of GPN patients, with significantly fewer long-term complications than those for rhizotomy for both glossopharyngeal nerve and rootlets of the vagus nerve.

Trigeminal and sphenopalatine ganglion stimulation for intractable craniofacial pain

Trigeminal and sphenopalatine ganglion stimulation for intractable craniofacial pain

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:513–520

Facial pain is often debilitating and can be characterized by a sharp, stabbing, burning, aching, and dysesthetic sensation. Specifically, trigeminal neuropathic pain (TNP), anesthesia dolorosa, and persistent idiopathic facial pain (PIFP) are difficult diseases to treat, can be quite debilitating and an effective, enduring treatment remains elusive.

Methods We retrospectively reviewed our early experience with stimulation involving the trigeminal and sphenopalatine ganglion stimulation for TNP, anesthesia dolorosa, and PIFP between 2010–2014 to assess the feasibility of implanting at these ganglionic sites. Seven patients received either trigeminal and/or sphenopalatine ganglion stimulation with or without peripheral nerve stimulation, having failed multiple alternative modalities of treatment. The treatments were tailored on the physical location of pain to ensure regional coverage with the stimulation.

Results Fluoroscopy or frameless stereotaxy was utilized to place the sphenopalatine and/or trigeminal ganglion stimulator. All patients were initially trialed before implantation. Trial leads implanted in the pterygopalatine fossa near the sphenopalatine ganglion were implanted via transpterygoid (lateral-medial, infrazygomatic) approach. Trial leads were implanted in the trigeminal ganglion via percutaneous Hartel approach, all of which resulted in masseter contraction. Patients who developed clinically significant pain improvement underwent implantation. The trigeminal ganglion stimulation permanent implants involved placing a grid electrode over Meckel’s cave via subtemporal craniotomy, which offered a greater ability to stimulate subdivisions of the trigeminal nerve, without muscular (V3) side effects. Two of the seven overall patients did not respond well to the trial and were not implanted. Five patients reported pain relief with up to 24- month follow-up. Several of the sphenopalatine ganglion stimulation patients had pain relief without any paresthesias. There were no electrode migrations or post-surgical complications.

Conclusions Refractory facial pain may respond positively to ganglionic forms of stimulation. It appears safe and durable to implant electrodes in the pterygopalatine fossa via a lateral transpterygoid approach. Also, implantation of an electrode grid overlying Meckel’s cave appears to be a feasible alternative to the Hartel approach. Further investigation is needed to evaluate the usefulness of these approaches for various facial pain conditions.

Motor cortex stimulation and neuropathic pain: how does motor cortex stimulation affect pain-signaling pathways?

Motor cortex stimulation and neuropathic pain- how does motor cortex stimulation affect pain-signaling pathways?

J Neurosurg 124:866–876, 2016

Neuropathic pain is often severe. Motor cortex stimulation (MCS) is used for alleviating neuropathic pain, but the mechanism of action is still unclear. This study aimed to understand the mechanism of action of MCS by investigating pain-signaling pathways, with the expectation that MCS would regulate both descending and ascending pathways.

Methods Neuropathic pain was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats. Surface electrodes for MCS were implanted in the rats. Tactile allodynia was measured by behavioral testing to determine the effect of MCS. For the pathway study, immunohistochemistry was performed to investigate changes in c-fos and serotonin expression; micro–positron emission tomography (mPET) scanning was performed to investigate changes of glucose uptake; and extracellular electrophysiological recordings were performed to demonstrate brain activity.

Results MCS was found to modulate c-fos and serotonin expression. In the mPET study, altered brain activity was observed in the striatum, thalamic area, and cerebellum. In the electrophysiological study, neuronal activity was increased by mechanical stimulation and suppressed by MCS. After elimination of artifacts, neuronal activity was demonstrated in the ventral posterolateral nucleus (VPL) during electrical stimulation. This neuronal activity was effectively suppressed by MCS.

Conclusions This study demonstrated that MCS effectively attenuated neuropathic pain. MCS modulated ascending and descending pain pathways. It regulated neuropathic pain by affecting the striatum, periaqueductal gray, cerebellum, and thalamic area, which are thought to regulate the descending pathway. MCS also appeared to suppress activation of the VPL, which is part of the ascending pathway.

Degree of distal trigeminal nerve atrophy predicts outcome after microvascular decompression for Type 1a trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia due to neurovascular conflicts from venous origin- an anatomical-surgical study-1

J Neurosurg 123:1512–1518, 2015

Trigeminal neuralgia is often associated with nerve atrophy, in addition to vascular compression. The authors evaluated whether cross-sectional areas of different portions of the trigeminal nerve on preoperative imaging could be used to predict outcome after microvascular decompression (MVD).

Methods A total of 26 consecutive patients with unilateral Type 1a trigeminal neuralgia underwent high-resolution fast-field echo MRI of the cerebellopontine angle followed by MVD. Preoperative images were reconstructed and reviewed by 2 examiners blinded to the side of symptoms and clinical outcome. For each nerve, a computerized automatic segmentation algorithm was used to calculate the coronal cross-sectional area at the proximal nerve near the root entry zone and the distal nerve at the exit from the porus trigeminus. Findings were correlated with outcome at 12 months.

Results After MVD, 17 patients were pain free and not taking medications compared with 9 with residual pain. Across all cases, the coronal cross-sectional area of the symptomatic trigeminal nerve was significantly smaller than the asymptomatic side in the proximal part of the nerve, which was correlated with degree of compression at surgery. Atrophy of the distal trigeminal nerve was more pronounced in patients who had residual pain than in those with excellent outcome. Among the 7 patients who had greater than 20% loss of nerve volume in the distal nerve, only 2 were pain free and not taking medications at long-term follow-up.

Conclusions Trigeminal neuralgia is associated with atrophy of the root entry zone of the affected nerve compared with the asymptomatic side, but volume loss in different segments of the nerve has very different prognostic implications. Proximal atrophy is associated with vascular compression and correlates with improved outcome following MVD. However, distal atrophy is associated with a significantly worse outcome after MVD.

A single thalamic target for deep brain stimulation to treat hemi-body pain syndrome

A single thalamic target

Acta Neurochir (2015) 157:1519–1523

Patients experiencing hemi-body pain represent a difficult problem when using the thalamus as a DBS target given its anatomical topology.
Methods A 50-year-old HIV positive male underwent a right unilateral thalamic DBS to treat his severe left hemi-body central post-stroke pain following years of unsuccessful medication therapy.
Results The final active contact of the electrode corresponded to stimulation of the nucleus ventrocaudalis parvocellularis internis, which has provided prolonged pain relief.
Conclusion To our knowledge this was the first time this pattern of pain was treated by a single thalamic DBS electrode, suggesting stimulation in this region may be a feasible target for achieving relief from chronic severe hemi-body pain.

Neurosurgery Department. “La Fe” University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

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