Multiple Vessel Compression of the Trigeminal Nerve Is Associated With Worse Outcomes in Trigeminal Neuralgia After Microvascular Decompression

Neurosurgery 92:1029–1034, 2023

Whether the total number of compressive vessels in trigeminal neuralgia (TN) affects outcomes after microvascular decompression (MVD) is unknown.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether the number of compressive vessels is associated with outcomes after MVD.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed all patients with TN who underwent MVDs at our institution from 2007 to 2020. The number and identity of compressive vessels on the trigeminal nerve were recorded. Preoperative and postoperative pain and numbness Barrow Neurological Institute scores were compared. Factors associated with pain recurrence were assessed using survival analyses and multivariate regressions.

RESULTS: We identified 496 patients with a single vessel and 381 patients with multiple vessels compressing the trigeminal nerve. Compared with patients with a single compressive vessel, patients with multiple sources of compression exhibited increased Barrow Neurological Institute pain scores preoperatively (P = .01). In addition, pain recurrence was more frequent (P < .001) and occurred after a significantly shorter pain-free duration (P < .001) for the multiple compression group. Using multivariate ordinal regression, a greater number of arteries (P = .03) and veins (P = .03) were both significantly associated with higher pain scores at final follow-up. Furthermore, the number of arteries (P = .01) and of veins (P = .01) was significantly associated with a higher risk for pain recurrence.

CONCLUSION: TN patients with a single compressive vessel exhibited better pain outcomes after an MVD. Patients with multiple compressive vessels exhibited higher pain scores preoperatively and incurred a higher risk for pain recurrence, which occurred after a shorter pain-free interval compared with the single compression cohort.

The value of intraoperative indocyanine green angiography in microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm to avoid brainstem ischemia

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:747–755

Despite being rarely reported, ischemic insults resulting from compromising small brainstem perforators following microvascular decompression (MVD) remain a potential devastating complication. To avoid this complication, we have been using indocyanine green (ICG) angiography intraoperatively to check the flow within the small brainstem perforators. We aim to evaluate the safety and usefulness of ICG videoangiography in MVD.

Methods We extracted retrospective data of patients who received ICG videoangiography from our prospectively maintained database for microvascular decompression. We noted relevant data including demographics, offending vessels, operative technique, outcome, and complications.

Results Out of the 438 patients, 15 patients with a mean age (SD) of 53 ± 10.5 years underwent intraoperative ICG angiography. Male:female was 1:1.14. The mean disease duration prior to surgery was 7.7 ± 5.3 years. The mean follow-up (SD) was 50.7 ± 42.0 months. In 14 patients, the offending vessel was an artery, and in one patient, a vein. Intraoperative readjustment of the Teflon pledget or sling was required in 20% (3/15) of the cases. No patient had any sort of brainstem ischemia. Eighty percent of the patients (12/15) experienced complete resolution of the spasms. 86.7% (13/15) of the patients reported a satisfactory outcome with marked improvement of the spasms. Three patients experienced slight hearing affection after surgery, which improved in two patients later. There was no facial or lower cranial nerve affection.

Conclusion Intraoperative ICG is a safe tool for evaluating the flow within the brain stem perforators and avoiding brainstem ischemia in MVD for hemifacial spasm.

Sacrifice or preserve the superior petrosal vein in microvascular decompression surgery

J Neurosurg 138:390–398, 2023

In microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery through the retrosigmoid approach, the surgeon may have to sacrifice the superior petrosal vein (SPV). However, this is a controversial maneuver. To date, high-level evidence comparing the operative outcomes of patients who underwent MVD with and without SPV sacrifice is lacking. Therefore, this study sought to bridge this gap.

METHODS The authors searched the Medline and PubMed databases with appropriate Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms and keywords. The primary outcome was vascular-related complications; secondary outcomes were new neurological deficit, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, and neuralgia relief. The pooled proportions of outcomes and OR (95% CI) for categorical data were calculated by using the logit transformation and Mantel-Haenszel methods, respectively.

RESULTS Six studies yielding 1143 patients were included, of which 618 patients had their SPV sacrificed. The pooled proportion (95% CI) values were 3.82 (0.87–15.17) for vascular-related complications, 3.64 (1.0–12.42) for new neurological deficits, 2.85 (1.21–6.58) for CSF leaks, and 88.90 (84.90–91.94) for neuralgia relief. The meta-analysis concluded that, whether the surgeon sacrificed or preserved the SPV, the odds were similar for vascular-related complications (2.5% vs 1.5%, OR [95% CI] 1.01 [0.33–3.09], p = 0.99), new neurological deficits (1.2% vs 2.8%, OR [95% CI] 0.55 [0.18–1.66], p = 0.29), CSF leak (3.1% vs 2.1%, OR [95% CI] 1.16 [0.46–2.94], p = 0.75), and neuralgia relief (86.6% vs 87%, OR [95% CI] 0.96 [0.62–1.49], p = 0.84).

CONCLUSIONS SPV sacrifice is as safe as SPV preservation. The authors recommend intentional SPV sacrifice when gentle retraction fails to enhance surgical field visualization and if the surgeon encounters SPV-related neurovascular conflict and/or anticipates impeding SPV-related bleeding.


Increase in Trigeminal Nerve Cross-Sectional Area on Immediate Postoperative MRI Predicts Favorable Outcome After Microvascular Decompression for Classical Trigeminal Neuralgia

Neurosurgery 92:283–292, 2023

Although distortion or indentation of a trigeminal nerve due to neurovascular compression (NVC) is associated with classical trigeminal neuralgia, whether morphological change in the trigeminal nerve is relieved by eliminating NVC has not been studied.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate morphological change in the trigeminal nerve after microvascular decompression (MVD).

METHODS: Fifty patients with classical trigeminal neuralgia who underwent MVD were included. Using coronal images in both preoperative and postoperative MRI, the trigeminal nerve cross-sectional area (CSA) was measured at 4 mm anterior to the nerve entry into the pons. Clinical outcomes were assessed using the Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity Scale (BNI-PS) at the patient’s latest follow-up.

RESULTS: Forty-one patients achieved favorable outcomes without medication (BNI-PS I or II), and 9 patients had residual pain (BNI-PS ≥ 3A). The mean symptomatic trigeminal nerve CSA was increased by 51.47% after MVD in the favorable outcome group (pre-operative: 4.37 ± 1.64 mm 2 vs postoperative: 6.26 ± 1.76 mm2 , P < .01), whereas it was not significantly changed in the unfavorable outcome group (preoperative: 4.20 ± 1.19 mm2 vs postoperative: 4.43 ± 1.24 mm2 , P = .69). Kaplan–Meier survival analysis showed that the 3-year probability of maintaining a favorable outcome was 92.3 ± 7.4% and 56.1 ± 11.9%, for those whose symptomatic trigeminal nerve CSA was increased by over 20% and less than 20%, respectively (P < .01).

CONCLUSION: Morphological changes in the trigeminal nerve due to NVC could be recovered by MVD, and increases in the trigeminal nerve CSA predicted favorable outcomes.

Indication for a skull base approach in microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:3235–3246

A thorough observation of the root exit zone (REZ) and secure transposition of the offending arteries is crucial for a successful microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS). Decompression procedures are not always feasible in a narrow operative field through a retrosigmoid approach. In such instances, extending the craniectomy laterally is useful in accomplishing the procedure safely. This study aims to introduce the benefits of a skull base approach in MVD for HFS.

Methods The skull base approach was performed in twenty-eight patients among 335 consecutive MVDs for HFS. The site of the neurovascular compression (NVC), the size of the flocculus, and the location of the sigmoid sinus are measured factors in the imaging studies. The indication for a skull base approach is evaluated and verified retrospectively in comparison with the conventional retrosigmoid approach. Operative outcomes and long-term results were analyzed retrospectively.

Results The extended retrosigmoid approach was used for 27 patients and the retrolabyrinthine presigmoid approach was used in one patient. The measurement value including the site of NVC, the size of the flocculus, and the location of the sigmoid sinus represents well the indication of the skull base approach, which is significantly different from the conventional retrosigmoid approach. The skull base approach is useful for patients with medially located NVC, a large flocculus, or repeat MVD cases. The long-term result demonstrated favorable outcomes in patients with the skull base approach applied. Conclusions Preoperative evaluation for lateral expansion of the craniectomy contributes to a safe and secure MVD.

Geniculate Neuralgia: A Case Report and Systematic Review

Neurosurgery Open 2022;3(4):e00022.

Geniculate neuralgia (GN) is a rare disorder characterized by brief paroxysms of pain felt deeply in the auditory canal, like shock. The diagnosis of GN is essentially clinical and requiring the exclusion of other causes. The aim of this study was to report a case of surgical treatment of the disease and perform a systematic review of surgical treatment options.

CLINICAL PRESENTATION: A 62-year-old female patient has had severe, sharp pain in her left ear—like an ice pick—for the past 8 months, without any history of trauma or infection. She had triggers for pain, such as talking or swallowing. Imaging investigation showed a vessel touching VIIth and VIIIth nerves, possibly the anterior inferior cerebellar artery. After finding a clinical presentation compatible with GN, treatment with anticonvulsants, gabapentinoids, and opioids was attempted, but without success with such conservative treatments. Therefore, we opted for microvascular decompression and section of the nervus intermedius, which were performed without complications. Neurophysiological assessment was essential to monitor the long tracts and stimulate VIIth and VIIIth nerves to help identify the intermediate nerve. After the procedure, the patient was without pain, and after 12 months of follow-up, she remains without any pain.

CONCLUSION: Surgical treatment of GN might be beneficial when medical treatment has not worked. Cranial nerves neurophysiological monitoring is not routinely performed, and the identification is based on anatomy. A more comprehensive knowledge of this condition will help in the surgical treatment choice and in achieving better results.

Technical Assessment of Microvascular Decompression for Trigeminal Neuralgia Using a 3-Dimensional Exoscope

Operative Neurosurgery 23:374–381, 2022

Detailed anatomic visualization of the root entry zone of the trigeminal nerve is crucial to successfully perform microvascular decompression surgery (MVD) in patients with trigeminal neuralgia.

OBJECTIVE: To determine advantages and disadvantages using a 3-dimensional (3D) exoscope for MVD surgery.

METHODS: A 4K 3D exoscope (ORBEYE) was used by a single surgical team for MVD in a retrospective case series of 8 patients with trigeminal neuralgia in a tertiary center. Clinical and surgical data were collected, and advantages/disadvantages of using the exoscope for MVD were recorded after each surgery. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data.

RESULTS: Adequate MVD of the trigeminal nerve root was possible in all patients by exclusively using the exoscope. It offered bright visualization of the cerebellopontine angle and the root entry zone of the trigeminal nerve that was comparable with a binocular operating microscope. The greatest advantages of the exoscope included good optical quality, the pronounced depth of field of the image for all observers, and its superior surgeon ergonomics. Disadvantages were revealed with overexposure at deep surgical sites and the lack of endoscope integration. In 6 patients, facial pain improved significantly after surgery (Barrow Neurological Institute pain intensity score I in 5 and III in 1 patient), whereas it did not in 2 patients (Barrow Neurological Institute score IV and V). No complications occurred.

CONCLUSION: Utilization of a 3D exoscope for MVD is a safe and feasible procedure. Surgeons benefit from better ergonomics, excellent image quality, and an improved experience for observers.

Prognostic factors for long-term outcomes of microvascular decompression in the treatment of glossopharyngeal neuralgia: a retrospective analysis of 97 patients

J Neurosurg 137:820–827, 2022

The authors aimed to investigate predictors of postoperative outcomes of microvascular decompression (MVD) for the treatment of glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN).

METHODS A cohort of 97 patients with medically refractory GPN who underwent MVD at the authors’ institution between January 2010 and July 2019 was retrospectively reviewed. Univariate and multivariate regression models were used to identify predictors of long-term outcome in patients after MVD.

RESULTS Eighty-nine patients (91.8%) reported immediate and complete relief of pain after the procedure. Of the remaining 8 patients (8.2%), 6 achieved partial pain relief and pain gradually diminished within 2 weeks after surgery, and 2 did not experience postoperative pain relief. In univariate Cox regression analysis, venous compression of the glossopharyngeal nerve root entry zone (HR 3.591, 95% CI 1.660–7.767, p = 0.001) and lower degree of neurovascular conflict (HR 2.449, 95% CI 1.177–5.096, p = 0.017) were significantly associated with worse pain-free survival. In multivariate Cox regression analysis, venous compression (HR 8.192, 95% CI 2.960–22.669, p < 0.001) and lower degree of neurovascular conflict (HR 5.450, 95% CI 2.069–14.356, p = 0.001) remained independently associated with worse pain-free survival.

CONCLUSIONS Venous compression of the glossopharyngeal nerve root entry zone and lower degree of neurovascular conflict were significantly correlated with shorter pain-free survival in patients who underwent MVD for GPN. Microvascular decompression is a safe, feasible, and durable approach with a low complication rate for the treatment of GPN.

Purely venous compression in trigeminal neuralgia—can we predict the outcome of surgery

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1567–1573

Controversies regarding venous compression and trigeminal neuralgia (TN) still exist. The study demonstrates our experience for microvascular decompression (MVD) in TN caused by purely venous compression. The goal was to identify prognostic anatomical or surgical factors that may influence the outcome.

Methods Between 2004 and 2020, 49 patients were operated with purely venous compression. Average age was 58.4 years. Mean history of TN was 7.8 years. Microsurgical procedures included transposition or separation of the vein, coagulation, and division. Several features have been analyzed with respect to BNI scores.

Results Evaluation on discharge revealed a complete pain relief in 39 (80%), partial improvement in 7 (14%), and no benefit in 3 (6%) patients. Facial hypesthesia was reported by 14 (28.6%) patients. Mean follow-up (FU) was 42.1 months. BNI pain intensity score on FU revealed 71.4% excellent to very good scores (score 1: 32 (65.3%); 2: 3 (6.1%)). BNI facial numb- ness score 2 could be detected in 13 patients (26.5%) during FU. There was no statistical relationship between immediate pain improvement or BNI pain intensity score on FU with respect to surgical procedure, size of trigeminal cistern, type of venous compression, venous caliber, trigeminal nerve indentation, or neurovascular adherence. BNI facial numbness score was dependent on type of venous compression (p < 0.05).

Conclusion We did not find typical anatomical features that could either predict or influence the outcome regarding pain improvement or resolution in any form. Neither classic microvascular decompression (interposition/transposition) nor sacrificing the offending vein made any difference in outcome.

Treatment Strategies for Different Types of Intraneural Offending Vessels in Microvascular Decompression Surgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia

Neurosurgery 90:562–568, 2022

Microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery is the treatment of choice for trigeminal neuralgia (TGN). However, decompression becomes difficult when the offending vessel penetrates the trigeminal nerve root.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the rates and patterns of different types of intraneural offending vessels in patients with TGN for MVD and to discuss respective management strategies. METHODS: All patients with TGN undergoing MVD in our center from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2019, were analyzed retrospectively. The intraneural offending vessels included veins and arteries. The postoperative pain relief rate, complications, and recurrences were evaluated.

RESULTS: Of the 302 TGN cases, the intraneural offending vessels were identified in 58 of the cases (19.2%). The 9 cases (15.5%) of intraneural offending arteries were decompressed using shredded Teflon wrapping interposition. Of the 49 cases (84.5%) of intraneural offending veins (INOVs), 29 were not considered true offending vessels, and the treatment only addressed the offending artery in these patients. Of the remaining 20 INOVs, 15 were electrocoagulated and divided, and 5 were decompressed with shredded Teflon. Complete pain relief was achieved in all 58 patients. However, the pain recurred in 5 patients (8.6%), and transient hemifacial numbness occurred in 4 patients (6.9%).

CONCLUSION: Intraneural offending vessels requiring treatment are uncommon and are seen in less than 1 in 10 patients undergoing MVD for TGN. For intraneural offending artery, decompression by shredded Teflon wrapping interposition is recommended. Management of the INOV depends on the individual situations, and the management includes sacrifice, wrapping decompression, or leaving them untreated.


A Systematic Review of Repeat Microvascular Decompression for Recurrent or Persistent Trigeminal Neuralgia

World Neurosurg. (2022) 158:226-233

When conservative therapy fails, microvascular decompression (MVD) has been the preferred treatment of primary trigeminal neuralgia (TN). However, the management of recurrent or persistent TN after MVD can often be difficult. The purpose of the present systematic review was to objectively analyze and summarize the reported literature regarding the feasibility of repeat MVD.

METHODS: We conducted a database search using the MEDLINE and PubMed databases until July 2020. The search terms used for title and abstract screening were as follows: “recurrent trigeminal neuralgia,” “persistent trigeminal neuralgia,” “repeat microvascular decompression,” and “reexploration.” The inclusion criteria for the systematic review were as follows: clinical studies (excluding case studies), repeat MVD treatment of TN, and studies that had recorded the pain relief outcomes, operative findings, and complications (if any).

RESULTS: Of the 1771 initial results obtained, we performed a full text screening of 43 studies, and, ultimately, 19 were deemed eligible. A total of 2247 patients had undergone MVD for TN, of whom, 311 had experienced recurrence (13.84%). Of the 311 patients, 178 had undergone repeat MVD. The average painfree interval was 27.75 months after the first MVD. The effective rate of repeat MVD was 91.66%, and 71.48% of the patients had had obvious compression found at repeat MVD. The postoperative complication rate after repeat MVD was 37.31% and was due to postoperative adhesions around the nerve and nerve injury caused by partial sensory rhizotomy. The most common complication after repeat MVD was facial numbness (21.89%), although the incidence of other complications was <5%.

CONCLUSIONS: For patients with recurrent or persistent pain after MVD, the findings from our systematic review support that repeat MVD remains a feasible treatment for recurrent or persistent TN.

Microvascular decompression in trigeminal neuralgia: predictors of pain relief, complication avoidance, and lessons learned

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:3321–3336

To analyze characteristics associated with long-term pain relief after microvascular decompression (MVD) for trigeminal neuralgia (TGN). Description of associated morbidity and complication avoidance.

Methods One hundred sixty-five patients with TGN underwent 171 MVD surgeries at the authors’ institution. Patient characteristics and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) datasets were obtained through the hospital’s archiving system. Patients provided information about pre- and post-operative pain characteristics and neurologic outcome. Favorable outcome was defined as a Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity score of I to III with post-operative improvement of I grade.

Results Type of TGN pain with purely paroxysmal pain (p = 0.0202*) and TGN classification with classical TGN (p = 0.0372*) were the only significant predictors for long-term pain relief. Immediate pain relief occurred in 90.6% of patients with a recurrence rate of 39.4% after 3.5 ± 4.6 years. MRI reporting of a neurovascular conflict had a low negative predictive value of 39.6%. Mortality was 0% with major complications observed in 8.2% of patients. Older age was associated with lower complication rates (p = 0.0009***). Re-MVD surgeries showed improved long-term pain relief in four out of five cases.

Conclusions MVD is a safe and effective procedure even in the elderly. It has the unique potential to cure TGN if performed on a regular basis, and if key surgical steps are respected. Early MVD should be offered in case of medical treatment failure and paroxysmal pain symptoms. The presence of a neurovascular conflict on MRI is not mandatory. In case of recurrence, re-MVD is a good treatment option that should be discussed with patients.

Microvascular Decompression for Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Prospective, Multicenter Study

Neurosurgery 89:557–564, 2021

Microvascular decompression (MVD) is the most effective procedure for the long-term management of trigeminal neuralgia (TGN). However, retrospective and single-center studies are inherently biased, and there are currently no prospective, multi- center studies.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the short- and long-term outcomes and complications in patients with TGN who underwent MVD at specialized Japanese institutions.

METHODS: We enrolled patients with TGN who underwent MVD between April 2012 and March 2015. We recorded their facial pain grade and complications at 7 d (short term), 1 yr (mid-term), and 3 yr (long term) postoperatively.

RESULTS: There were 166 patients, comprising 60 men and 106 women (mean age 62.7 yr). Furthermore, 105 patients were aged over 60 yr. We conducted neuromonitoring in 84.3% of the cases. The complete pain relief, mortality, and complication rates at the short-term follow-up were 78.9%, 0%, and 16.3%, respectively. Overall, 155 patients (93.4%) completed the long-term follow-up, with the complete pain relief and complication rates of 80.0% and 5.2%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: In the hands of experienced neurosurgeons, MVD for TGN can achieve high long-term curative effects. In addition, complications are uncommon and usually transient. Our results indicate that MVD is an effective and safe treatment for patients with TGN, including elderly patients.

Redo surgery for trigeminal neuralgia: reasons for re‐exploration and long‐term outcomes

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2407–2416

To investigate the causes of failure and recurrence after microvascular decompression (MVD) for trigeminal neuralgia (TGN) and to analyze the results of redo surgery.

Methods Sixty-three cases of redo surgery were retrospectively reviewed. Reasons for re-exploration were categorized into 4 groups based on the operative findings. Patient characteristics, outcomes of re-exploration, and operative complications were analyzed by Kaplan–Meier and logistic regression analyses.

Results Reasons for redo surgery were divided into arterial compression in 13 patients (21%), venous compression in 11 patients (17%), prosthesis-related in 25 patients (40%), and adhesion or negative exploration in 14 patients (22%). Immediate pain relief was obtained in 59 patients (94%) postoperatively with newly developed facial numbness in 17 patients (27%). Of these, 48 patients (76%) maintained pain-free 1 year postoperatively. Overall recurrence was noted in 17 patients (27%) during the median 49-month follow-up period. Most recurrences occurred within 1 year after redo surgery, but the prosthesis-related patients showed a continuous recurrence up to 4 years. Patients having vascular compression showed significantly better pain control than those without vascular contact in Kaplan–Meier analyses (p = 0.0421). No prognostic factor for pain-free 1 year after redo surgery was found.

Conclusions Redo surgery is effective for patients with remaining vascular compression rather than those without vascular contact. Teflon contact onto the nerve root should be avoided because it is a potential risk for recurrence and causes poor prognosis after redo surgery.

Subacute vision loss after microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:1635–1638

Microvascular decompression is the surgery of choice for typical trigeminal neuralgia (TN) that fails conservative medical management. Visual loss after MVD is a rare complication that has not been reported.

In this article, we present a patient who developed delayed visual loss and papilledema from transverse sinus stenosis resulting from bone wax compression after MVD for TN.

While waxing the edges of a retrosigmoid craniotomy may seem mundane, meticulous care should be taken to ensure that there is no compression of the venous sinuses, as this could lead to intracranial hypertension.

Young‐onset trigeminal neuralgia: a clinical study and literature review

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:1617–1621

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) primarily occurs in elderly adults and is thought to be induced by neurovascular compression. However, a few children and young adults may present with the clinical features of TN. In this study, we aim to retrospectively assess the data of young patients with TN from a single center.

Methods Of 783 consecutive patients with TN treated at our center between 2007 and 2017, 11 young patients under the age of 30 years with TN met the inclusion criteria and were enrolled. Their clinical records, surgical treatments, and long-term outcomes were obtained and analyzed.

Results All the 11 patients with TN underwent microvascular decompression (MVD). The average age at symptom onset was 24 years (range, 14–29 years), and the average age at the time of surgery was 28.9 years (range, 25–35 years). Further, 5 patients had left-sided symptoms, and 6 had right-sided symptoms. Surgery revealed only venous compression in 3 patients, only arterial compression in 5 patients, and both venous and arterial compression in 3 patients. The average duration of symptoms was 4.9 years, and the average follow-up duration was 7.4 years (range, 4.5–12.9 years). The long-term outcome was excellent in 9 patients and good in 2 patients, and there were no long-term complications.

Conclusions The symptoms and surgical findings presented in this cohort for young-onset TN are similar to those reported in elderly adults. MVD appears to be a safe and effective treatment for young patients with TN.

Microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia attributable to the vertebrobasilar artery

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:1037–1043

Separation of the vertebrobasilar artery (VBA) from the trigeminal nerve root in microvascular decompression (MVD) is technically challenging. This study aimed to review the clinical features of VBA involvement in trigeminal neuralgia and evaluate surgical decompression techniques in the long term.

Methods We retrospectively reviewed the surgical outcomes of 26 patients (4.4%) with VBA involvement in 585 consecutive MVDs for TGN using a Teflon roll for repositioning the VBA. The final operative status of the nerve decompression was categorized into two groups: the separation group and the contact group. Separation of the VBA from the nerve root was completed in 13 patients in the separation group, and slight vascular contact remained in the remaining 13 patients of the contact group. The clinical features of VBA-related TGN were investigated and the operative results were analyzed.

Results Multiple arteries are involved in neurovascular compression (NVC) in most cases. The anterior inferior cerebellar artery was the most common concomitant artery (69%). The site of the NVC varies from the root entry zone to the distal portion of the root. All patients were pain-free immediately after surgery and maintained medication-free status during the follow-up period, except for one patient (3.8%) who had recurrent facial pain 8 years after surgery. Postoperative facial numbness was observed in six patients (23%). Of these, one patient showed improvement within 3 months and the other five patients had persistent facial numbness (19.2%). Other neurological deficits include one dry eye, one diplopia due to trochlear nerve palsy, two decreased hearing (< 50 db), two facial weaknesses, and two cerebellar ataxia. Although most of them were transient, one dry eye, two hearing impairments, and one cerebellar ataxia became persistent deficits. Statistical analyses revealed no difference in surgical efficacy or complications in the long term between the two groups.

Conclusions Slightly remaining vascular contact does not affect pain relief in the long term. Our study indicated that once the tense trigeminal nerve is loosened, further attempts to mobilize the VBA are not necessary.

Prognostic nomogram for microvascular decompression–treated trigeminal neuralgia

Neurosurgical Review (2021) 44:571–577

This study aimed to establish an effective prognostic nomogram for microvascular decompression (MVD)–treated trigeminal neuralgia (TN). The nomogram was based on a retrospective cohort study of 1054 patients with TN.

During the period 2005– 2014, 845 patients at our department treated TN with MVD and served as a development cohort. The predictive accuracy and discriminative ability of the nomogram were determined by concordance index (C-index) and calibration curve. The model was externally validated by 209 TN patients during 2014–2016.

Multivariate cox analysis suggested that the patient’s age, atypical pain, vascular type, number of offending vessels, and second MVD were significant factors influencing the prognosis of MVDtreated TN. The C index of nomogram in the development cohort was 0.767 (95%CI, 0.739–0.794), and 0.749 (95%CI, 0.688– 0.810) in the validation cohort.

We developed and validated a nomogram to predict 3-year overall remission rate after MVD treatment of TN. The nomogram can be used in clinical trials to determine the likelihood of pain recurrence in TN patients treated with MVD for 3 years to aid in the comprehensive treatment of TN.

Neurosurgical Choice for Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia: A Benefit–Harm Assessment of Long-Term Quality of Life

Neurosurgery 88( 1) 2021: 131–139

Microvascular decompression (MVD) and vagoglossopharyngeal rhizotomy (VGR) are effective treatment for glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GN). However, surgical choice is controversial due to the need to maximize pain relief and reduce complications.

OBJECTIVE: To retrospectively compare safety, efficacy, long-term quality of life (QOL), and global impression of change following MVD and VGR for treatment of GN. METHODS: Patient database reviews and telephone surveys were conducted to assess baseline characteristics and long-term outcomes. The effects of pain and complications on QOL were assessed using Brief Pain Inventory-Facial (BPI-Facial) questionnaire. Complication tolerance and surgery satisfaction were sorted using the global impression of change survey.

RESULTS: Of 87 patients with GN, 63 underwentMVD alone, 20 underwent VGR alone, and 4 underwent VGR following a failed MVD. The long-term rate of pain relief was slightly, but not significantly, lower following MVD than VGR (83.6% vs 91.7%, P = .528). However, long-term complications occurred much more frequently following VGR (3.0% vs 50.0%, P < .001). The BPI-Facial, which evaluates pain and complications, showed that MVD had better postoperative QOL than VGR (P < .001). However, 91.7% of patients who underwent VGR experienced no or mild complications. There was no significant difference in the overall satisfaction rates between the groups (83.3% vs 83.6%, P > .99).

CONCLUSION: Although VGR resulted in lower postoperative QOL due to a high complication rate, most of these complications were mild. The overall satisfaction rates for the 2 surgeries were similar.

Long-term pain outcomes in elderly patients with trigeminal neuralgia: comparison of first-time microvascular decompression and stereotactic radiosurgery

Neurosurg Focus 49 (4):E23, 2020

Common surgical treatments for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) include microvascular decompression (MVD) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). The use of MVD in elderly patients has been described but has yet to be prospectively compared to SRS, which is well-tolerated and noninvasive. The authors aimed to directly compare long-term pain control and adverse event rates for first-time surgical treatments for idiopathic TN in the elderly.

METHODS A prospectively collected database was reviewed for TN patients who had undergone treatment between 1997 and 2017 at a single institution. Standardized collection of preoperative demographics, surgical procedure, and postoperative outcomes was performed. Data analysis was limited to patients over the age of 65 years who had undergone a first-time procedure for the treatment of idiopathic TN with at least 1 year of follow-up.

RESULTS One hundred ninety-three patients meeting the study inclusion criteria underwent surgical procedures for TN during the study period (54 MVD, 24 MVD+Rhiz, 115 SRS). In patients in whom an artery was not compressing the trigeminal nerve during MVD, a partial sensory rhizotomy (MVD+Rhiz) was performed. Patients in the SRS cohort were older than those in the MVD and MVD+Rhiz cohorts (mean ± SD, 79.2 ± 7.8 vs 72.9 ± 5.7 and 70.9 ± 4.8 years, respectively; p < 0.0001) and had a higher mean Charlson Comorbidity Index (3.8 ± 1.1 vs 3.0 ± 0.9 and 2.9 ± 1.0, respectively; p < 0.0001). Immediate or short-term postoperative pain-free rates (Barrow Neurological Institute [BNI] pain intensity score I) were 98.1% for MVD, 95.8% for MVD+Rhiz, and 78.3% for SRS (p = 0.0008). At the last follow-up, 72.2% of MVD patients had a favorable outcome (BNI score I–IIIa) compared to 54.2% and 49.6% of MVD+Rhiz and SRS patients, respectively (p = 0.02). In total, 0 (0%) SRS, 5 (9.3%) MVD, and 1 (4.2%) MVD+Rhiz patients developed any adverse event. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis demonstrated that procedure type (p = 0.001) and postprocedure sensory change (p = 0.003) were statistically significantly associated with pain control.

CONCLUSIONS In this study cohort, patients who had undergone MVD had a statistically significantly longer duration of pain freedom than those who had undergone MVD+Rhiz or SRS as their first procedure. Fewer adverse events were seen after SRS, though the MVD-associated complication rate was comparable to published rates in younger patients. Overall, the results suggest that both MVD and SRS are effective options for the elderly, despite their advanced age. Treatment choice can be tailored to a patient’s unique condition and wishes.


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