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.

Clival-Meckel’s Cave Angle: A Predictor of Glycerol Displacement in Percutaneous Glycerol Rhizotomy for Trigeminal Neuralgia

Operative Neurosurgery 26:141–148, 2024

Percutaneous glycerol rhizotomy successfully treats trigeminal neuralgia although failure rates and durability of the procedure are variable. Some of this variability in clinical outcome might be due to egress of glycerol from Meckel’s cave (MC) because of surgical positioning and individual patient anatomy. In this article, we quantitatively analyzed the anatomic variances that affect glycerol fluid dynamics to better predict patients more amenable for percutaneous glycerol injections.

METHODS: Computed tomography imaging of 11 cadaveric heads was used to calculate bilateral Clival-Meckel’s cave (CMC) and sella-temporal (ST) angles. Twenty-two cadaveric percutaneous injections of dyed glycerol into the Meckel’s cave were performed using H¨artel’s approach, and the fluid movement was documented at prespecified intervals over 1 hour. The relationship between the angles and glycerol migration was studied.

RESULTS: Specimens with basal cistern involvement by 60 minutes had significantly greater CMC angles (median [IQR]: basal cistern involvement = 74.5°[59.5°-89.5°] vs no basal cistern involvement = 58.0°[49.0°-67.0°]), U = 6.0, P < .001. This model may predict which patients will experience glycerol migration away from the Gasserian ganglion (area under the curve: 0.950, SE: 0.046, CI: 0.859-1.041, P < .001). Increased ST angle was associated with lateral flow of glycerol (r s = 0.639, P = .001), and CMC angle was associated with total area of dispersion (r s = À0.474, P = .026).

CONCLUSION: Anatomic variation in skull base angles affects glycerol migration. Specifically, a more obtuse CMC angle was associated with a higher risk of posterior migration away from the Gasserian ganglion. This may be a reason for differing rates of surgical success. These results suggest that anterior head flexion for 60 minutes may prevent percutaneous glycerol rhizotomy failures and some patients with large CMC angles are more likely to benefit from postinjection head positioning. However, this clinical effect needs validation in vivo.

Radiofrequency thermocoagulation under neuromonitoring guidance and general anesthesia for treatment of refractory trigeminal neuralgia

Acta Neurochirurgica (2024) 166:56

Radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFT) for refractory trigeminal neuralgia is usually performed in awake patients to localize the involved trigeminal branches. It is often a painful experience. Here, we present RFT under neuromonitoring guidance and general anesthesia.

Method Stimulation of trigeminal branches at the foramen ovale with the tip of the RFT cannula is performed under short general anesthesia. Antidromic sensory–evoked potentials (aSEP) are recorded from the 3 trigeminal branches. The cannula is repositioned until the desired branch can be stimulated and lesioned.

Conclusion aSEP enable accurate localization of involved trigeminal branches during RFT and allow performing the procedure under general anesthesia.

Repeat Gamma Knife radiosurgery for recurrent trigeminal neuralgia in patients with multiple sclerosis

Acta Neurochirurgica (2024) 166:15

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) has emerged as an effective treatment option for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). To date, the outcomes of repeat GKRS for patients with TN and MS with recurrent pain have been investigated in a few patients. This study aims to report the outcomes and predictive factors of pain reduction for MS patients undergoing repeat GKRS for recurrent TN.

Methods Eighteen patients with MS underwent repeat GKRS for recurrent TN. A retrospective chart review and telephone interviews were conducted to determine background medical history, dosimetric data, and outcomes of the procedure. Facial pain and sensory function were evaluated using the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) scales.

Results Fifteen patients achieved a BNI pain score of IIIa or better, indicating pain reduction, within a median period of 21 days after repeat GKRS. The maximum dose for repeat GKRS ranged from 70 to 85 Gy. Pain recurred in 5 patients after a median period of 12 months after GKRS. Percentages of patients with pain reduction at 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 years were 60%, 60%, 50%, 50%, and 50%, respectively. Older age at repeat GKRS predicted sustained pain reduction (P = 0.01). Seven patients developed facial sensory disturbances, which were bothersome in two patients.

Conclusions Repeat GKRS may be used as an effective treatment modality for prolonging the duration of pain reduction time in patients with MS and TN. After repeat GKRS, facial sensory disturbances are common; however, they are often not bothersome.

Validation of Efficacy and Safety of TachoSil ® Tissue Sealant for Vessel Transposition in Microvascular Decompression

Operative Neurosurgery 25:417–425, 2023

Use of TachoSil ® as the transposition material of microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS) and trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is easy and safe to perform, but the efficacy and safety of this technique are unknown. This study attempted to validate the efficacy and safety of TachoSil ® as a transposition material of MVD.

METHODS: A retrospective study of the surgical results and complications of 63 patients (35 HFS and 28 TN) treated by the TachoSil ® technique between January 2011 and December 2021 was conducted. The efficacy of the treatment was evaluated by Kaplan–Meier survival analysis. Magnetic resonance imaging follow-up study was performed to detect any adverse events including a mass formation.

RESULTS: The rate of complete disappearance of HFS was 91.4% at 1 year and estimated to be 85.7% after a 10-year followup. The rate of no pain without medication for TN was 85.4% at 1 year and estimated to be 69.0% after a 9-year follow-up. These surgical results are comparable with those previously reported. Flaking of TachoSil ® releasing the offending artery was only recognized in one case (1.6%). Therefore, TachoSil ® can be considered as an effective transposition material for MVD. TachoSil ® did not increase the rate of acute and subacute adverse events such as inflammation and delayed facial palsy. Magnetic resonance imaging follow-up identified no abnormalities including mass that suggested granuloma formation.

CONCLUSION: The efficacy of the TachoSil ® technique for HFS and TN and the reliability of TachoSil ® as an adhesive material in MVD were verified. No adverse events associated with TachoSil ® use in MVD were found. We conclude that the TachoSil ® technique has relatively long efficacy and safety for MVD.

The pathophysiology of trigeminal neuralgia: a molecular review

J Neurosurg 139:1471–1479, 2023

The goal of this study was to provide a comprehensive overview of the current understanding of molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of trigeminal neuralgia (TN).

METHODS The authors searched PubMed systematically for primary research literature investigating specific molecular mechanisms from samples derived from patients with TN. The genes/molecules of interest from the selected literature were then cross-referenced with corresponding studies in animal models of TN.

RESULTS From approximately 345 articles, a total of 12 articles were selected and included in the review, focusing on ionotropic channel expressivity and mutations, reactive oxygen species expressivity, inflammatory marker expressivity, and microRNA expressivity. Of the 12 included articles, only 4 had studies completed in other animal models regarding the corresponding TN mechanism found in humans.

CONCLUSIONS The current literature does not suggest a conclusive disease mechanism for TN in humans. In addition to neurovascular conflict/compression of the trigeminal nerve, recent studies have indicated that TN may be linked to inflammatory and reactive oxygen species signaling as well. Recent genetic studies in patients with TN have yet to be investigated further in animal models.

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.

A racial analysis of pain outcomes following microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia

J Neurosurg 139:633–639, 2023

Pain outcomes by race in trigeminal neuralgia (TN) are not well investigated. The authors aimed to compare microvascular decompression (MVD) outcomes in TN patients on the basis of self-identified race.

METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed all patients with TN who underwent MVD at their institution from 2007 to 2020. Each patient’s self-reported race was recorded, and Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) scores for pain and numbness were compared. Factors associated with pain recurrence were assessed using survival analyses and multivariate regressions.

RESULTS Of 1011 patients, 925 reported their racial demographic characteristics, and patients who identified as Native American or American Indian and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander were excluded due to small sample sizes. Of the resulting 921 patients, 697 (75.7%) patients identified as White, 108 (11.7%) as Black or African American, 39 (4.2%) as Asian, and 77 (8.4%) as other. Compared with White patients, Black TN patients were more likely to present with type 1 TN (p = 0.02). At final follow-up, the mean BNI pain score of Black patients was significantly higher (p < 0.001) compared with that of White patients, although pain scores did not differ preoperatively. The adjusted multivariate ordinal regression model showed that Black patients were associated with higher BNI pain scores at final follow-up (p = 0.01). Furthermore, compared with White patients, Black patients were at increased risk for postoperative pain recurrence (p = 0.04), which additionally occurred after a shorter median pain-free duration (p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS TN patients who identify as Black or African American exhibit worse postoperative pain outcomes after MVD compared with White patients. Future studies investigating the factors driving these racial differences are warranted.

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.

Percutaneous Rhizotomy of the Gasserian Ganglion in Patients With Mass Lesion–Associated Trigeminal Neuralgia

Operative Neurosurgery 25:142–149, 2023

Patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) secondary to mass lesions are typically treated by directly addressing the underlying pathology. In cases of TN not alleviated by treatment of the pathology, percutaneous balloon compression (PBC) and glycerol rhizotomy (Gly) are simple and effective ways to alleviate pain. However, there is limited literature on the use of these techniques for patients with TN caused by mass lesions.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the use of PBC/Gly to treat mass lesion–related TN.

METHODS: We report a retrospective, single-institution, descriptive case series of patients who presented with TN secondary to tumor or mass-like inflammatory lesion from 1999 to 2021. Patients with primary, idiopathic, or multiple sclerosis–related TN were excluded. Outcomes included Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity and hypesthesia scores, pain persistence, and postoperative complications.

RESULTS: A total of 459 procedures were identified, of which 16 patients met the inclusion criterion (14 PBC and 2 Gly). Of the 15 patients with tumors, 12 had TN pain despite prior tumor-targeted radiation. Short-term (<3 months) BNI pain intensity improvement occurred in 15 (93.8%) patients. The mean follow-up was 54.4 months. Thirteen (81.3%) patients were pain-free (Barrow Neurological Institute pain intensity scale: IIIa–50%; I–25.0%; II–6.3%) for a mean of 23.8 (range 1137) months. Ten patients (62.5%) had pain relief for ≥6 months from first procedure. New facial numbness developed immediately postprocedure in 8 (50%) patients. Transient, partial abducens nerve palsy occurred in 1 patient.

CONCLUSION: PBC/Gly is an effective option for medically refractory TN in patients with mass-associated TN and is a viable option for repeat treatment.

Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia Secondary to Multiple Sclerosis

Neurosurgery 93:453–461, 2023

The efficacy of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for the relief of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is well established. Much less is known, however, about the benefit of SRS for multiple sclerosis (MS)–related TN (MS-TN). OBJECTIVE: To compare outcomes in patients who underwent SRS for MS-TN vs classical/idiopathic TN and identify relative risk factors for failure.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective, case-control study of patients who underwent Gamma Knife radiosurgery at our center for MS-TN between October 2004 and November 2017. Cases were matched 1:1 to controls using a propensity score predicting MS probability using pretreatment variables. The final cohort consisted of 154 patients (77 cases and 77 controls). Baseline demographics, pain characteristics, and MRI features were collected before treatment. Pain evolution and complications were obtained at follow-up. Outcomes were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meir estimator and Cox regressions.

RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference between both groups with regards to initial pain relief (modified Barrow National Institute IIIa or less), which was achieved in 77% of patients with MS and 69% of controls. In responders, 78% of patients with MS and 52% of controls eventually had recurrence. Pain recurred earlier in patients with MS (29 months) than in controls (75 months). Complications were similarly distributed in each group and consisted, in the MS group, of 3% of new bothersome facial hypoesthesia and 1% of new dysesthesia.

CONCLUSION: SRS is a safe and effective modality to achieve pain freedom in MS-TN. However, pain relief is significantly less durable than in matched controls without MS.

Augmented Reality–Assisted Percutaneous Rhizotomy for Trigeminal Neuralgia

Operative Neurosurgery 24:665–669, 2023

Percutaneous rhizotomy of the trigeminal nerve is a common surgery to manage medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia. Traditionally, these procedures have been performed based on anatomic landmarks with fluoroscopic guidance. Augmented reality (AR) relays virtual content on the real world and has the potential to improve localization of surgical targets based on preoperative imaging.

OBJECTIVE: To study the potential application and benefits of AR as an adjunct to traditional fluoroscopy-guided glycerol rhizotomy (GR).

METHODS: We used traditional fluoroscopy-guided percutaneous GR technique as previously described, performed under general anesthesia. Anatomic registration to the Medivis SurgicalAR system was performed based on the patient’s preoperative computerized tomography, and the surgeon was equipped with the system’s AR goggles. AR was used as an adjunct to fluoroscopy for trajectory planning to place a spinal needle into the medial aspect of the foramen ovale.

RESULTS: A 50-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis–related right-sided classical trigeminal neuralgia had persistent pain, refractory to medications, previous gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery, and percutaneous radiofrequency rhizotomy performed elsewhere. The patient underwent AR-assisted fluoroscopy-guided percutaneous GR. The needle was placed into the right trigeminal cistern within seconds. She was discharged home after a few hours of observation with no complications and reported pain relief.

CONCLUSION: AR-assisted percutaneous rhizotomy may enhance the learning curve of these types of procedures and decrease surgery duration and radiation exposure. This allowed rapid and correct placement of a spinal needle through the foramen ovale.

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.

Refining the Anatomy of Percutaneous Trigeminal Rhizotomy: A Cadaveric, Radiological, and Surgical Study

Operative Neurosurgery 24:341–349, 2023

Percutaneous trigeminal rhizotomy (PTR) is a widely used procedure for trigeminal neuralgia. However, comprehensive analyses that combine anatomic, radiological, and surgical considerations are rare.

OBJECTIVE: To present high-quality anatomic dissections and radiological studies that highlight the technical nuances of this procedure.

METHODS: Six silicon-injected postmortem heads underwent PTR. The surgical corridors were dissected, and the neurovascular relationships were studied. In addition, 20 dried human skulls and 50 computed tomography angiography and MRI scans were collected to study the anatomic relationships for a customized puncture corridor.

RESULTS: The PTR corridor was divided into 3 segments: the buccal segment (length, 34.76 ± 7.20 mm), the inferior temporal fossa segment (length, 42.06 ± 6.92 mm), and the Meckel cave segment (length, 24.75 ± 3.34 mm). The puncture sagittal (α) and axial (β) angles measured in this study were 38.32° ± 4.62° and 19.13° ± 2.82°, respectively. The precondylar reference line coincided with the foramen ovale in 75% of the computed tomography angiography scans, and the postcondylar line coincided with the carotid canal in 70% of the computed tomography angiography scans; these lines serve as the intraoperative landmarks for PTR. The ovale-carotid-pterygoid triangle, delineated by drawing a line from the foramen ovale to the carotid canal and the lateral pterygoid plate, is a distinguished landmark to use for avoiding neurovascular injury during fluoroscopy.

CONCLUSION: Knowledge of the anatomic and radiological features of PTR is essential for a successful surgery, and a customized technical flow is a safe and effective way to access the foramen ovale.

A Case Series of Trigeminal Neuralgia With Pure Venous Compression: Postoperative Outcomes Associated With Intraoperative Venous Transposition Versus Coagulation

Operative Neurosurgery 24:377–382, 2023

Microvascular decompressions (MVDs) are effective open-surgical procedures for trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Intraoperative management of compressive veins may include either venous transposition or coagulation. Although both are generally considered safe,which technique results in optimal postoperative outcomes remains unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To compare postoperative pain and numbness outcomes after an MVD in patients with TN of exclusive venous compression.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed all patients with TN who underwent MVDs at our institution from 2007 to 2020. Patients with TN of pure venous compression were identified using MRI imaging, which was subsequently confirmed intraoperatively. Patient demographics, procedural characteristics, and postoperative pain and numbness scores were recorded and compared. Factors associated with pain recurrence were assessed using survival analyses and multivariate regressions.

RESULTS: We identified 181 patients who presented with TN of pure venous compression. Using a multivariate linear regression, adjusted for age, sex, and presence of multiple sclerosis, use of venous transposition vs coagulation was not significantly associated with the Barrow Neurological Institute pain score at final follow-up, although venous transposition was significantly predictive of a worse postoperative Barrow Neurological Institute numbness score (P = .003). Using a Kaplan–Meier survival analysis and a multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression, respectively, venous transposition was significantly associated with faster (P = .01) as well as higher risk for pain recurrence (P = .01).

CONCLUSION: The use of venous coagulation during an MVD is associated with better postoperative pain and numbness outcomes. The results of our study may help inform preoperative patient counseling and surgical management for TN cases that involve pure venous compression.

Factors Predicting Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks in Microvascular Decompressions: A Case Series of 1011 Patients

Operative Neurosurgery 24(3):p 262-267, March 2023.

Microvascular decompression (MVD) using a retrosigmoid approach is a highly effective, open-surgical procedure for neurovascular conflict in the posterior fossa, although there is a risk of postoperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak.

To identify factors associated with postoperative CSF leakage after MVD.

We retrospectively reviewed all patients who underwent MVDs at our institution from 2007 to 2020. Patient demographics, clinical diagnoses, and procedural characteristics were recorded and compared. Factors leading to CSF leak were analyzed using χ2, univariate, and multivariate regression.

Of 1011 patients who underwent MVDs, 37 (3.7%) presented with postoperative CSF leaks. In univariate analysis, the use of Cranios/Norian to obliterate the air cells was protective against CSF leak (P = .01). Craniotomies (P = .002), the use of dural substitutes such as Durepair (P = .04), dural onlays such as DuraGen (P = .04), muscle/fascia (P = .03), and titanium mesh cranioplasty >5 cm (P = .03) were associated with CSF leak. On multivariate analysis, only the presence of craniotomies (P = .04) and nonprimary dural closure (P = .03) were significant risk factors for CSF leak. When excluding the 34 (3.4%) patients who underwent a craniotomy, the lack of primary dural closure still remained significantly associated with postoperative CSF leak (P = .04).

Our results represent one of the largest series of posterior fossa surgeries for a uniform indication in North America. Our study demonstrates increased risk for postoperative CSF leak when craniotomies are performed and when primary dural closure is not established. Given the small sample of patients who received a craniotomy, however, future studies corroborating this finding should be performed.

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.

Internal neurolysis versus intraoperative glycerin rhizotomy for trigeminal neuralgia

J Neurosurg 138:270–275, 2023

Internal neurolysis (IN) and intraoperative glycerin rhizotomy (ioGR) are emerging surgical options for patients with trigeminal neuralgia without neurovascular contact. The objective of this study was to compare the neurological outcomes of patients who underwent IN with those of patients who underwent ioGR.

METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed all patients who underwent IN or ioGR for trigeminal neuralgia at our institution. Patient demographic characteristics and immediate postoperative outcomes, as well as long-term neurological outcomes, were compared.

RESULTS Of 1044 patients who underwent open surgical treatment for trigeminal neuralgia, 56 patients underwent IN and 91 underwent ioGR. Of these 147 patients, 37 had no evidence of intraoperative neurovascular conflict. All patients who underwent IN and 96.7% of patients who underwent ioGR had immediate postoperative pain relief. At last followup, patients who underwent IN had lower Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity scores (p = 0.05), better BNI facial numbness scores (p < 0.01), and a greater degree of pain improvement (p = 0.05) compared with those who underwent ioGR. Patients who underwent IN also had significantly lower rates of symptomatic pain recurrence (p < 0.01) at last follow-up over an average of 9.5 months.

CONCLUSIONS IN appears to provide patients with a greater degree of pain relief, lower rates of facial numbness, and lower rates of pain recurrence compared with ioGR. Future prospective studies will better characterize long-term pain recurrence and outcomes.


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.