Modification to the Hartel Route Radiofrequency Technique for the Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Technical Note

World Neurosurg. (2023) 178:14-19

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate a modification to the classical Hartel technique for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia.

METHODS: Intraoperative radiographs of 30 patients with trigeminal neuralgia treated with radiofrequency were retrospectively reviewed. The distance between the needle and the anterior edge of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) was measured on strict lateral skull radiographs. Surgical time was reviewed, and clinical outcomes were evaluated.

RESULTS: All patients showed clinical improvement in pain (Visual Analog Scale). In all radiographs, the measurement between the needle and the anterior edge of the TMJ ranged from 10 mm to 22 mm. None of the measurements were below 10 mm or above 22 mm. In most cases, this distance was 18 mm (9 patients), followed by 16 mm in 5 patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Considering the inclusion of the oval foramen in a Cartesian coordinate system with axes X, Y, and Z is useful. Directing the needle to a point located 1 cm from the anterior edge of the TMJ, avoiding the medial aspect of the upper jaw ridge, allows for a safer and faster procedure.

Percutaneous trigeminal tractotomy–nucleotomy with use of intraoperative computed tomography and general anesthesia

Percutaneous trigeminal tractotomy–nucleotomy with use of

Neurosurg Focus 35 (3):E5, 2013

For confirming the correct location of the radiofrequency electrode before creation of a lesion, percutaneous CT-guided trigeminal tractotomy–nucleotomy is most commonly performed with the patient prone and awake. However, for patients whose facial pain and hypersensitivity are so severe that the patients are unable to rest their face on a support (as required with prone positioning), awake CT-guided tractotomy-nucleotomy might not be feasible.

The authors describe 2 such patients, for whom percutaneous intraoperative CT-guided tractotomy-nucleotomy under general anesthesia was successful. One patient was a 79-year-old man with profound left facial postherpetic neuralgia, who was unable to tolerate awake CT-guided tractotomy-nucleotomy, and the other was a 45-year-old woman with intractable hemicranial pain that developed after a right frontal lesionectomy for epilepsy. Each patient underwent a percutaneous intraoperative CT-guided tractotomy-nucleotomy under general anesthesia.

No complications occurred, and each patient reported excellent pain relief for up to 6 and 3 months after surgery, respectively. Percutaneous intraoperative CT-guided tractotomy-nucleotomy performed on anesthetized patients is effective for facial postherpetic neuralgia and postoperative hemicranial neuralgia

Trigeminal neurinomas: clinical features and surgical experience in 84 patients

Neurosurg Rev (2009) 32:435–444.DOI:10.1007/s10143-009-0210-8

Trigeminal neurinomas are the second most common intracranial neurinomas next to the vestibular neurinomas. Eighty-four patients with trigeminal neurinomas were treated between 2003 and 2007. There were 40 women and 44 men (mean age 43 years). The most frequent symptoms were headache or numbness of the ipsilateral hemiface. There were 24 type A, nine type B, 45 type C, and six type D tumors. Dextroscope virtual reality technology was used for preoperative planning in recent eight cases. Gross total resection was achieved in 63 patients. We found that the major impediments to complete removal were adherent to the brainstem and skull base vascular structure, the frontotemporal approach with zygomatic or orbitozygomatic osteotomy or subtemporal approach could offer excellent exposure of the middle fossa and access to the posterior fossa, and Dextroscope virtual reality technology was a very useful tool to identify surgical and anatomic nuances and enhance preoperative planning in trigeminal neurinomas resection.

Retreatment of trigeminal neuralgia with Gamma Knife radiosurgery: is there an appropriate cumulative dose?

J Neurosurg 111:359–364, 2009


Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a disorder of the trigeminal nerve that results in intense episodic pain. Primary treatment with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) is well established; however, a significant number of patients experience recurrence of TN over time. Repeat GKS can be performed, but the retreatment dose has not been well established. In this study, the authors present their institutional retreatment results and compare them with other series.

Methods
Between December 2003 and January 2006, 28 patients were treated at Tufts Medical Center with repeat GKS for recurrence of TN. All patients had been initially treated with GKS at this institution, and only those with significant pain improvement were offered retreatment. The maximum dose was prescribed using a single isocenter; the 4-mm collimator was used. The initial median GKS dose was 80 Gy, the median retreatment dose was 45 Gy, and the median cumulative dose was 125 Gy. The median time between GKS procedures was 18.1 months. Facial pain outcomes were defined using the Marseille scale. Excellent outcome was defined as no pain (with or without medications), and good outcome was defined as > 50% pain relief. Toxicity was categorized as none, mild, or bothersome. The median clinical follow-up after the second GKS was 19.7 months. Our clinical outcomes were compared with 8 previously reported retreatment series (including 1 abstract), both for rate of pain control and for rate of complications.

Results
Outcomes after the second GKS were excellent in 29% (8 patients), good in 32% (9), and poor in 39% (11). Four patients (14%) experienced no improvement after repeat GKS. Eight patients (29%) experienced new trigeminal nerve dysfunction, including numbness (11%), paresthesia (14%), dysesthesia (4%), taste alteration (11%), and bite weakness (4%). None of these were bothersome. No patient developed corneal numbness. Univariate analysis failed to reveal any significant predictors of pain control or complications.

Seven published peer-reviewed retreatment series and the authors’ data (total 215 patients) were analyzed. There was a cumulative dose-response relationship for both pain control (p = 0.04) and new trigeminal dysfunction (p = 0.08). Successful pain control was strongly correlated with development of new dysfunction (p = 0.02). A cumulative dose > 130 Gy was more likely to result in successful (> 50%) pain control, but was also more likely (> 20%) to result in development of new dysfunction.

Conclusions
Successful retreatment of patients in whom the initial GKS treatment fails is feasible. Patients who respond initially may be at a higher risk of retreatment-related complications. There appears to be a dose-response relationship for both pain control and development of new side effects. It is important to counsel and treat patients individually based on this dose-response relationship.

Percutaneous radio-frequency thermocoagulation of the Gasserian ganglion guided by high-speed real-time CT fluoroscopy

Neuroradiology (2009) 51:563-566

Introduction Although Gasserian ganglion block is an established treatment for trigeminal neuralgia, the foramen ovale cannot always be clearly visualized by classical X-ray radiography. We present a new method for percutaneous radio-frequency thermocoagulation of the Gasserian ganglion, in which computed tomography (CT) fluoroscopy is used to guide needle placement.
Methods In the present study, 15 patients with trigeminal neuralgia underwent percutaneous radio-frequency thermocoagulation of the Gasserian ganglion guided by high-speed real-time CT fluoroscopy.
Results Trigeminal neuralgia was improved in all patients after treatment without any severe complications. Moderate dysesthesia occurred in only one case.
Conclusion CT fluoroscopy-guided percutaneous radio-frequency thermocoagulation of the Gasserian ganglion was safe, quick, and effective for patients with intractable idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia.