Management outcomes of peripontine arteriovenous malformation patients presenting with trigeminal neuralgia

J Neurosurg 140:515–521, 2024

Trigeminal neuralgia as the presenting symptom of brain arteriovenous malformation (bAVM) has been rarely reported. Treatment of reported cases has been skewed toward surgery for these scarce, deeply located bAVMs. Here, the authors report their management and outcomes of bAVM patients presenting with ipsilateral trigeminal neuralgia (TN) at their institution.

METHODS This is a retrospective cohort study. The authors’ institutional bAVM database was queried for non–hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia bAVMs in pontine, cistern, brainstem, trigeminal nerve, or tentorial locations. Patients with complete data were included in a search for trigeminal neuralgia or “facial pain” as the presenting symptom with TN being on the same side as the bAVM. Demographics, TN and bAVM characteristics, management strategies, and outcomes of bAVM and TN management were analyzed.

RESULTS Fifty-seven peripontine bAVMs were identified; 8 (14.0%) of these bAVMs were discovered because of ipsilateral TN, including 4 patients (50%) with facial pain in the V2 distribution. Five patients (62.5%) were treated with carbamazepine as the initial medical therapy, 2 (25%) underwent multiple rhizotomies, and 1 (12.5%) underwent microvascular decompression. None of the patients with TN-associated bAVMs presented with hemorrhage, compared with 25 patients (51%) with bAVMs that were not associated with TN (p < 0.01). TN-associated bAVMs were overall smaller than non–TNassociated bAVMs, but the difference was not statistically significant (1.71 cm vs 2.22 cm, p = 0.117), and the SpetzlerMartin grades were similar. Six patients (75%) underwent radiosurgery to the bAVM (mean dose 1800 cGy, mean target volume 0.563 cm 3 ) and had complete resolution of TN symptoms (100%). The mean time from radiosurgery to TN resolution was 193 (range 21–360) days, and 83.3% of treated TN-associated bAVMs were obliterated via radiosurgery. Two patients (12.5%) were recommended for conservative management, with one undergoing subsequent rhizotomies and another patient died of hemorrhage during follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS TN-associated bAVM is a rare condition with limited evidence for management guidance. Radiosurgery can be safe and effective in achieving durable TN control in patients with TN-associated bAVMs. Despite their deep location and unruptured presentation, obliteration can reach 83.3% with radiosurgery.