Pain Outcomes Following Microvascular Decompression for Drug-Resistant Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Neurosurgery, Volume 86, Issue 2, February 2020, Pages 182–190

Microvascular decompression (MVD) is a potentially curative surgery for drug-resistant trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Predictors of pain freedom after MVD are not fully understood. OBJECTIVE: To describe rates and predictors for pain freedom following MVD.

METHODS: Using preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Scopus were queried for primary studies examining pain outcomes after MVD for TN published between 1988 and March 2018. Potential biases were assessed for included studies. Pain freedom (ie, Barrow Neurological Institute score of 1) at last follow-up was the primary outcome measure. Variables associated with pain freedom on preliminary analysis underwent formal meta-analysis. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for possible predictors.

RESULTS: Outcome data were analyzed for 3897 patients from 46 studies (7 prospective, 39 retrospective). Overall, 76.0% of patients achieved pain freedom afterMVD with amean follow-up of 1.7 ± 1.3 (standard deviation) yr. Predictors of pain freedom on meta-analysis using random effectsmodels included (1) disease duration≤5 yr (OR=2.06, 95% CI=1.08- 3.95); (2) arterial compression over venous or other (OR = 3.35, 95% CI = 1.91-5.88); (3) superior cerebellar artery involvement (OR = 2.02, 95% CI = 1.02-4.03), and (4) type 1 Burchiel classification (OR = 2.49, 95% CI = 1.32-4.67).

CONCLUSION: Approximately three-quarters of patients with drug-resistant TN achieve pain freedom after MVD. Shorter disease duration, arterial compression, and type 1 Burchiel classification may predict more favorable outcome. These results may improve patient selection and provider expectations.