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Editorial

Trigeminal neuralgia

Kim J. Burchiel

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Jonathan P. Miller, Feridun Acar and Kim J. Burchiel

Object

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) presents a diagnostic challenge because of the variety of symptoms, findings during microvascular decompression (MVD), and postsurgical outcomes observed among patients who suffer from this disorder. Recently, a new paradigm for classification of TN was proposed, based on the quality of pain. This study represents the first clinical analysis of this paradigm.

Methods

The authors analyzed 144 consecutive cases involving patients who underwent MVD for TN. Preoperative symptoms were classified into 1 of 2 categories based on the preponderance of shocklike (Type 1 TN) or constant (Type 2 TN) pain. Analysis of clinical characteristics, neurovascular pathology, and postoperative outcome was performed.

Results

Compared with Type 2 TN, Type 1 TN patients were older, were more likely to have right-sided symptoms, and reported a shorter duration of symptoms prior to evaluation. Previous treatment by percutaneous or radiosurgical procedures was not a predictor of symptoms, surgical findings, or outcome (p = 0.48). Type 1 TN was significantly more likely to be associated with arterial compression. Venous or no compression was more common among Type 2 TN patients (p < 0.01). Type 1 TN patients were also more likely to be pain-free immediately after surgery, and less likely to have a recurrence of pain within 2 years (p < 0.05). Although a subset of patients progressed from Type 1 to Type 2 TN over time, their pathological and prognostic profiles nevertheless resembled those of Type 1 TN.

Conclusions

Type 1 and Type 2 TN represent distinct clinical, pathological, and prognostic entities. Classification of patients according to this paradigm should be helpful to determine how best to treat patients with this disorder.

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Editorial

Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy

Kim J. Burchiel

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Kim J. Burchiel, Hadley Clarke, Michael Haglund and John D. Loeser

✓ Forty patients were followed for an average period of 8½ years after 44 consecutive suboccipital craniotomies for trigeminal neuralgia. Among these patients, 36 had microvascular decompression (MVD) of the nerve, four had repeat trigeminal rhizotomy after MVD was not successful in controlling their pain, and four had primary trigeminal rhizotomies. Of the 36 patients undergoing MVD, 17 (47%) experienced recurrent postoperative neuralgic pain: in 11 (31%) pain recurrence was major, and in six (17%) it was minor. Among the eight patients undergoing rhizotomy, four (50%) had major pain recurrences and one (13%) had a minor recurrence, for a 63% total recurrence rate. There was a strong statistical relationship between an operative finding of arterial cross-compression of the nerve and long-term complete pain relief. Patients with other compressive pathology (related to veins or bone structures) did not on the average fare as well. Despite this, there appeared to be no point in time in the postoperative interval when the patient could be considered “cured.” Major recurrences averaged 3.5% annually, and minor recurrences averaged 1.5% annually. The implications of these findings for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia and the current understanding of the mechanism of MVD for this disorder are discussed.

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Jonathan P. Miller, Feridun Acar and Kim J. Burchiel

Object

Hardware infection is a common occurrence after the implantation of neurostimulation and intrathecal drug delivery devices. The authors investigated whether the application of a neomycin/polymyxin solution directly into the surgical wound decreases the incidence of perioperative infection.

Methods

Data from all stereotactic and functional hardware procedures performed at the Oregon Health & Science University over a 5-year period were reviewed. All patients received systemic antibiotic prophylaxis. For the last 18 months of the 5-year period, wounds were additionally injected with a solution consisting of 40 mg neomycin and 200,000 U polymyxin B sulfate diluted in 10 ml normal saline. The primary outcome measure was infection of the hardware requiring explantation.

Results

Six hundred fourteen patients underwent hardware implantation. Among 455 patients receiving only intravenous antibiotics, the infection rate was 5.7%. Only 2 (1.2%) of 159 patients receiving both intravenous and local antibiotics had an infection. The wounds in both of these patients were compromised postoperatively: 1 patient had entered a swimming pool, and the other had undergone a general surgery procedure that exposed the hardware. If these patients are excluded from analysis, the effective infection rate using a combined intravenous and local antibiotic prophylaxis is 0%. There were no complications due to toxicity.

Conclusions

The combination of local neomycin/polymyxin with systemic antibiotic therapy can lead to a significantly lower rate of postoperative infection than when systemic antibiotics are used alone.

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Justin S. Cetas, Targol Saedi and Kim J. Burchiel

Object

Nonmalignant pain has been treated in the past century with ablative, or more appropriately, destructive procedures. Although individual outcomes for these procedures have previously been described in the literature, to the authors' knowledge this is the first comprehensive and systematic review on this topic.

Methods

A US National Library of Medicine PubMed search was conducted for the following ablative procedures: cingulotomy, cordotomy, DREZ (also input as dorsal root entry zone), ganglionectomy, mesencephalotomy, myelotomy, neurotomy, rhizotomy, sympathectomy, thalamotomy, and tractotomy. Articles related to pain resulting from malignancy and those not in peer-reviewed journals were excluded. In reviewing pertinent articles, focus was placed on patient number, outcome, and follow-up.

Results

A total of 146 articles was included in the review. The large majority of studies (131) constituted Class III evidence. Eleven Class I and 4 Class II studies were found, of which nearly all (13 of 15) evaluated radiofrequency rhizotomies for different pain origins, including lumbar facet syndrome, cervical facet pain, and Type I or typical trigeminal neuralgia. Overall, support for ablative procedures for nonmalignant pain is derived almost entirely from Class III evidence; despite a long history of use in neurosurgery, the evidence supporting destructive procedures for benign pain conditions remains limited.

Conclusions

Newly designed prospective standardized studies are required to define surgical indications and outcomes for these procedures, to provide more systematic review, and to advance the field.

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Jacques Favre, Jamal M. Taha, Timothy Steel and Kim J. Burchiel

✓ The authors report a new technique to anchor deep brain stimulation electrodes using a titanium microplate. This technique has been safely used to secure 20 quadripolar deep brain stimulation electrodes implanted for movement disorders (18 electrodes) and pain (two electrodes). Twelve electrodes were implanted in the thalamus, four in the subthalamic nucleus, and four in the pallidum. No electrode migration or rupture occurred, and all electrodes have been shown to work properly after internalization of the system.

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Jorge L. Eller, Ahmed M. Raslan and Kim J. Burchiel

Based on specific, objective, and reproducible criteria, a classification scheme for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and related facial pain syndromes is proposed. Such a classification scheme is based on information provided in the patient's history and incorporates seven diagnostic criteria, as follows. 1) and 2) Trigeminal neuralgia Types 1 and 2 (TN1 and TN2) refer to idiopathic, spontaneous facial pain that is either predominantly episodic (as in TN1) or constant (as in TN2) in nature. 3) Trigeminal neuropathic pain results from unintentional injury to the trigeminal nerve from trauma or surgery. 4) Trigeminal deafferentation pain results from intentional injury to the nerve by peripheral nerve ablation, gangliolysis, or rhizotomy in an attempt to treat either TN or other related facial pain. 5) Symptomatic TN results from multiple sclerosis. 6) Postherpetic TN follows a cutaneous herpes zoster outbreak in the trigeminal distribution. 7) The category of atypical facial pain is reserved for facial pain secondary to a somatoform pain disorder and requires psychological testing for diagnostic confirmation. The purpose of a classification scheme like this is to advocate a more rigorous, standardized natural history and outcome studies for TN and related facial pain syndromes.

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Kim J. Burchiel, Cheng-Mei Shaw and William A. Kelly

✓ The authors describe a case of a mixed prolactin- and somatotropin-secreting pituitary adenoma and ganglioneuroma of the pituitary fossa in a patient with galactorrhea, hyperprolactinemia, and headaches. Histological and electron microscopic findings were typical for each element of the tumor, but the finding of a ganglioneuroma within the pituitary fossa is unusual; even more unusual was its proximity to an apparently unrelated tumor in the same location. The clinical, radiological, endocrinological, and pathological findings are discussed.