Fully Endoscopic Microvascular Decompression for Trigeminal Neuralgia

World Neurosurg. (2022) 166:159-167

Microscopic microvascular decompression (MVD) of the trigeminal nerve is the gold standard surgical treatment for medically refractory classical trigeminal neuralgia. Endoscopy has significantly advanced surgery and provides enhanced visualization of the cerebellopontine angle and its critical neurovascular structures. We present our initial experience of fully endoscopic microvascular decompression (e-MVD).

METHODS: This retrospective case series investigated e-MVD performed from September 2016 to February 2020 at a single institution. Clinical data including presenting symptoms, medications, operative findings, postoperative complications, and outcomes were recorded. The 5-point Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity score was used to quantify patients’ pain relief.

RESULTS: During the study period, 25 patients with trigeminal neuralgia (10 males, 15 females; mean [SD] age [ 63 [10.4] years) underwent e-MVD. All patients had a preoperative BNI score of V. The left side was affected in 15 patients. Complications occurred in 2 patients: both experienced hearing loss, and one experienced transient facial weakness 7 days after surgery. The facial weakness had resolved by the last follow-up. All patients were completely pain-free (BNI score I) immediately postoperatively. On latest follow-up, 22 patients have remained pain-free, and 3 patients have recurrent pain that is being controlled with medication (BNI score III).

CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated that e-MVD is a safe, possibly effective method of performing MVD with the added benefit of improved visualization of the operative field for the operating surgeon and the surgical team. Larger prospective studies are required to evaluate whether performing e-MVD confers any additional benefits in long-term clinical outcome of patients with trigeminal neuralgia.