Effect of lesion temperature on the durability of percutaneous radiofrequency rhizotomies to treat trigeminal neuralgia

J Neurosurg 139:625–632, 2023

Percutaneous radiofrequency rhizotomy is a common procedure for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) that creates thermocoagulative lesions in the trigeminal ganglion. Lesioning parameters for the procedure are left to the individual surgeon’s discretion, and published guidance is primarily anecdotal. The purpose of this work was to assess the role of lesioning temperature on long-term surgical outcomes.

METHODS This was a retrospective analysis of patients who underwent percutaneous radiofrequency rhizotomy from 2009 to 2020. Patient data, including demographics, disease presentation, surgical treatment, and outcomes, were collected from medical records. The primary endpoint was the recurrence of TN pain. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards regressions were used to assess the impact of chosen covariates on pain-free survival.

RESULTS A total of 280 patients who had undergone 464 procedures were included in the analysis. Overall, roughly 80% of patients who underwent rhizotomy would have a recurrence within 10 years. Lower lesion temperature was predictive of longer periods without pain recurrence (HR 1.05, p < 0.001). The inclusion of lesion time, postoperative numbness, prior history of radiofrequency rhizotomy, surgeon, and multiple sclerosis as confounding variables did not affect the hazard ratio or the statistical significance of this finding. Postoperative numbness and the absence of multiple sclerosis were significant protective factors in the model.

CONCLUSIONS The study findings suggest that lower lesion temperatures and, separately, postoperative numbness result in improved long-term outcomes for patients with TN who undergo percutaneous radiofrequency rhizotomies. Given the limitations of retrospective analysis, the authors suggest that a prospective multisite clinical trial testing lesion temperatures would provide definitive guidance on this issue with specific recommendations about the number needed to treat and trial design.

Anatomical step‑by‑step dissection of common approaches to the third ventricle for trainees

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2421–2434

Purpose To create a high-quality, cadaver-based, operatively oriented resource documenting the anterior transcortical and interhemispheric transcallosal approaches as corridors to the third ventricle targeted towards neurosurgical trainees at all levels.

Methods Two formalin-fixed, latex-injected specimens were dissected under microscopic magnification and endoscopicassisted visualization. Dissections of the transcortical and transcallosal craniotomies with transforaminal, transchoroidal, and interforniceal transventricular approaches were performed. The dissections were documented in a stepwise fashion using three-dimensional photographic image acquisition techniques and supplemented with representative cases to highlight pertinent surgical principles.

Results The anterior transcortical and interhemispheric corridors afford excellent access to the anterior two-thirds of the third ventricle with varying risks associated with frontal lobe versus corpus callosum disruption, respectively. The transcortical approach offers a more direct, oblique view of the ipsilateral lateral ventricle, whereas the transcallosal approach readily establishes biventricular access through a paramedian corridor. Once inside the lateral ventricle, intraventricular angled endoscopy further enhances access to the extreme poles of the third ventricle from either open transcranial approach. Subsequent selection of either the transforaminal, transchoroidal, or interforniceal routes can be performed through either craniotomy and is ultimately dependent on individual deep venous anatomy, the epicenter of ventricular pathology, and the concomitant presence of hydrocephalus or embryologic cava. Key steps described include positioning and skin incision; scalp dissection; craniotomy flap elevation; durotomy; transcortical versus interhemispheric dissection with callosotomy; the aforementioned transventricular routes; and their relevant intraventricular landmarks.

Conclusions Approaches to the ventricular system for maximal safe resection of pediatric brain tumors are challenging to master yet represent foundational cranial surgical techniques. We present a comprehensive operatively oriented guide for neurosurgery residents that combines stepwise open and endoscopic cadaveric dissections with representative case studies to optimize familiarity with third ventricle approaches, mastery of relevant microsurgical anatomy, and preparation for operating room participation.