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Mark C. Preul, Phillip B. Long, Jeffrey A. Brown, Manuel E. Velasco, and Michael T. Weaver

✓ The histopathological and autonomic effects of percutaneous trigeminal ganglion compression for trigeminal neuralgia were studied in New Zealand White rabbits. Drops in mean arterial blood pressure of 38% and in heart rate of 30% were observed during compression (p < 0.0001). Corneal reflex, pinprick sensation, and mastication strength were intact in 13 of 14 rabbits after compression. These findings resembled the effects of percutaneous compression in humans and suggested that the New Zealand White rabbit is a useful model for the study of percutaneous compression.

Trigeminal sensory roots and ganglia from 14 rabbits killed at intervals from 1 to 84 days after percutaneous compression were sectioned and stained using immunoperoxidase for neurofilaments, hematoxylin and eosin, luxol fast blue, and cresyl echt violet. Focal axonal damage and demyelination were present 7 days after compression. No difference could be detected in the perikaryonal distribution of neurofilaments between compressed and control trigeminal ganglia. Focal demyelination and Schwann cell proliferation preceding remyelination were present in the trigeminal sensory root at 84 days. Differential injury of axons compared to trigeminal ganglion cell bodies suggests that axonal regeneration is possible and may contribute to the recovery of motor and sensory function in patients after percutaneous compression.