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  • Author or Editor: Peter J. Jannetta x
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Ian F. Pollack, Peter J. Jannetta and David J. Bissonette

✓ Thirty-five patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) bilaterally underwent posterior fossa microvascular decompression (MVD) between 1971 and 1984. They comprised 5.0% of a larger series of 699 patients with TN who underwent MVD during that interval. Compared to the subgroup of 664 patients with only unilateral symptoms, the population with bilateral TN included a greater percentage of females (74% vs. 58%, p < 0.1), a higher rate of “familial” TN (17% vs. 4.1%, p < 0.001), and an increased incidence of additional cranial nerve dysfunction (17% vs. 6.6%, p < 0.05) and hypertension (34% vs. 19%, p < 0.05).

Of the 35 patients with bilateral TN, 10 underwent bilateral MVD (22 procedures) and 25 underwent unilateral MVD (30 procedures). In the latter patients, pain on the nonoperative side was well controlled with medication alone or had previously been treated by ablative procedures. Good or excellent pain control was achieved after one MVD was performed in 40 of the 45 sides treated (89%), and was maintained 1, 5, and 10 years after surgery in 82%, 66%, and 60%, respectively, based on life-table analysis. Six of 10 patients with recurrent symptoms underwent repeat unilateral MVD. Good or excellent long-term pain control was maintained in all six. With these repeat procedures included, symptom control at 1, 5, and 10 years after initial surgery was maintained in 87%, 78%, and 78% of the treated sides, respectively. Overall, 26 of 35 patients (74%) maintained good or excellent pain relief throughout the duration of the study (mean follow-up period 75 months) without resumption of regular medication usage. Although preoperative neurological deficits resulting from previous ablative procedures were seen in the majority of patients before MVD, no patient developed new major trigeminal sensory loss or masseter weakness after MVD. Operative mortality was zero. The results indicate that posterior fossa MVD is an effective and relatively safe treatment for the majority of patients with bilateral “idiopathic” TN, avoiding the risks of bilateral trigeminal nerve injury seen with other approaches.

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Anterior surgery for cervical disc disease

Part 1: Treatment of lateral cervical disc herniation in 253 cases

L. Dade Lunsford, David J. Bissonette, Peter J. Jannetta, Peter E. Sheptak and David S. Zorub

✓ Between 1971 and 1977, 334 patients at the Presbyterian-University Hospital underwent anterior surgery for treatment of hard or soft cervical disc herniation. Of these patients, 295 had radicular symptoms only. This retrospective study details the results of anterior cervical surgery for treatment of lateral disc herniation in 253 patients who survived 1 to 7 years postoperatively. Sixty-seven percent had excellent or good results. Although 77% initially noted complete relief of symptoms after surgery, 38% subsequently developed one or more recurrent symptoms at some time during the follow-up period. The overall results of surgery for soft disc cases were no different from the results for hard discs, although significantly more hard disc cases required postoperative conservative treatment. The results of surgery after anterior fusion were no different than the results after anterior discectomy alone. However, overall postoperative complications were more frequent and hospitalizations were longer in the patients who underwent fusion. Patients with multiple-level surgery had statistically similar results to those with single-level surgery. None of the nine preoperative clinical features reported by others to influence the results of anterior cervical surgery were found to consistently affect outcome in the present series.

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Fred G. Barker II, Peter J. Jannetta, Ramesh P. Babu, Spiros Pomonis, David J. Bissonette and Hae Dong Jho

✓ During a 20-year period, 26 patients with typical symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia were found to have posterior fossa tumors at operation. These cases included 14 meningiomas, eight acoustic neurinomas, two epidermoid tumors, one angiolipoma, and one ependymoma. The median patient age was 60 years and 69% of the patients were women. Sixty-five percent of the symptoms were left sided. The median preoperative duration of symptoms was 5 years. The distribution of pain among the three divisions of the trigeminal nerve was similar to that found in patients with trigeminal neuralgia who did not have tumors; however, more divisions tended to be involved in the tumor patients. The mean postoperative follow-up period was 9 years.

At operation, the root entry zone of the trigeminal nerve was examined for vascular cross-compression in 21 patients. Vessels compressing the nerve at the root entry zone were observed in all patients examined. Postoperative pain relief was frequent and long lasting. Using Kaplan—Meier methods the authors estimated excellent relief in 81% of the patients 10 years postoperatively, with partial relief in an additional 4%.

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Fred G. Barker II, Peter J. Jannetta, David J. Bissonette, Philip T. Shields, Mark V. Larkins and Hae Dong Jho

✓ The authors report the results of 782 microvascular decompression procedures for hemifacial spasm in 703 patients (705 sides), with follow-up study from 1 to 20 years (mean 8 years). Of 648 patients who had not undergone prior intracranial procedures for hemifacial spasm, 65% were women; their mean age was 52 years, and the mean preoperative duration of symptoms was 7 years. The onset of symptoms was typical in 92% and atypical in 8%. An additional 57 patients who had undergone prior microvascular decompression elsewhere were analyzed as a separate group. Patients were followed prospectively with annual questionnaires.

Kaplan-Meier methods showed that among patients without prior microvascular decompression elsewhere, 84% had excellent results and 7% had partial success 10 years postoperatively. Subgroup analyses (Cox proportional hazards model) showed that men had better results than women, and patients with typical onset of symptoms had better results than those with atypical onset. Nearly all failures occurred within 24 months of operation; 9% of patients underwent reoperation for recurrent symptoms. Second microvascular decompression procedures were less successful, whether the first procedure was performed at Presbyterian-University Hospital or elsewhere, unless the procedure was performed within 30 days after the first microvascular decompression. Patient age, side and preoperative duration of symptoms, history of Bell's palsy, preoperative presence of facial weakness or synkinesis, and implant material used had no influence on postoperative results.

Complications after the first microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm included ipsilateral deaf ear in 2.6% and ipsilateral permanent, severe facial weakness in 0.9% of patients. Complications were more frequent in reoperated patients. In all, one operative death (0.1%) and two brainstem infarctions (0.3%) occurred. Microvascular decompression is a safe and definitive treatment for hemifacial spasm with proven long-term efficacy.