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  • Journal of Neurosurgery x
  • By Author: Meyer, Fredric B. x
  • By Author: Pollock, Bruce E. x
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Maria Peris-Celda, Soliman Oushy, Avital Perry, Christopher S. Graffeo, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Richard S. Zimmerman, Fredric B. Meyer, Bruce E. Pollock and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

Geniculate neuralgia (GN) is an uncommon craniofacial pain syndrome attributable to nervus intermedius (NI) dysfunction. Diagnosis and treatment can be challenging, due to the complex nature of ear sensory innervation, resulting in clinical overlap with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN).

METHODS

A retrospective review of a prospective neurosurgical database at our institution was performed, 2000–2017, with a corresponding systematic literature review. Pain outcomes were dichotomized as unfavorable for unchanged/worsened symptoms versus favorable if improved/resolved. Eight formalin-fixed brains were examined to describe NI at the brainstem.

RESULTS

Eleven patients were surgically treated for GN—9 primary, 2 reoperations. The median age was 48, 7 patients were female, and the median follow-up was 11 months (range 3–143). Seven had ≥ 2 probable cranial neuralgias. NI was sectioned in 9 and treated via microvascular decompression (MVD) in 2. Five patients underwent simultaneous treatment for TN (4 MVD; 1 rhizotomy) and 5 for GPN (3 MVD; 2 rhizotomy). Eleven reported symptomatic improvement (100%); 8 initially reported complete resolution (73%). Pain outcomes at last contact were favorable in 8 (73%)—all among the 9 primary operations (89% vs 0%, p = 0.054). Six prior series reported outcomes in 111 patients.

CONCLUSIONS

GN is rare, and diagnosis is confounded by symptomatic overlap with TN/GPN. Directed treatment of all possible neuralgias improved pain control in almost all primary operations. Repeat surgery seems a risk factor for an unfavorable outcome. NI is adherent to superomedial VIII at the brainstem; the intermediate/cisternal portion is optimal for visualization and sectioning.

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Bruce E. Pollock and Fredric B. Meyer

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Jonathan A. Friedman, Fredric B. Meyer, Douglas A. Nichols, Robert J. Coffey, L. Nelson Hopkins, Cormac O. Maher, Irene D. Meissner and Bruce E. Pollock

✓ The authors report the case of a man who suffered from progressive, disseminated posttraumatic dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) resulting in death, despite aggressive endovascular, surgical, and radiosurgical treatment.

This 31-year-old man was struck on the head while playing basketball. Two weeks later a soft, pulsatile mass developed at his vertex, and the man began to experience pulsatile tinnitus and progressive headaches. Magnetic resonance imaging and subsequent angiography revealed multiple AVFs in the scalp, calvaria, and dura, with drainage into the superior sagittal sinus. The patient was treated initially with transarterial embolization in five stages, followed by vertex craniotomy and surgical resection of the AVFs. However, multiple additional DAVFs developed over the bilateral convexities, the falx, and the tentorium. Subsequent treatment entailed 15 stages of transarterial embolization; seven stages of transvenous embolization, including complete occlusion of the sagittal sinus and partial occlusion of the straight sinus; three stages of stereotactic radiosurgery; and a second craniotomy with aggressive disconnection of the DAVFs. Unfortunately, the fistulas continued to progress, resulting in diffuse venous hypertension, multiple intracerebral hemorrhages in both hemispheres, and, ultimately, death nearly 5 years after the initial trauma.

Endovascular, surgical, and radiosurgical treatments are successful in curing most patients with DAVFs. The failure of multimodal therapy and the fulminant progression and disseminated nature of this patient's disease are unique.