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Shang-Yih Yan, Chia-Lin Tsai and Dueng-Yuan Hueng

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Andrew C. Zacest, Stephen T. Magill, Valerie C. Anderson and Kim J. Burchiel

Object

Ilioinguinal neuralgia is one cause of chronic groin pain following inguinal hernia repair, and it affects ~ 10% of patients. Selective ilioinguinal neurectomy is one proposed treatment option for carefully selected patients. The goal of this study was to determine the long-term outcome of patients who underwent selective ilioinguinal neurectomy for chronic post-hernia pain.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the clinical assessment, surgical treatment, and long-term outcome in 26 patients with ilioinguinal neuralgia who underwent selective ilioinguinal neurectomy performed by the senior author (K.J.B.) at Oregon Health & Science University between 1998 and 2008. Data were collected from patient charts and a follow-up telephone questionnaire.

Results

Twenty-six patients (14 men and 12 women) had a clinical diagnosis of ilioinguinal neuralgia based on a history of radiating neuropathic groin, medial thigh, and genitalia pain. One patient had bilateral disease (therefore there were 27 surgical cases). A selective nerve block was performed in 21 (81%) of 26 patients and was positive in 20 (77%) of the 26. In all but 2 patients, pain onset followed abdominal surgery (for hernia repair in 18 patients), and was immediate in 16 (67%) of 24 patients. The mean patient age was 48.7 years, and the mean duration of pain prior to neurosurgical consultation was 3.9 years. Surgery was performed after induction of local or general anesthesia in 17 and 10 cases, respectively. The ilioinguinal nerve was identified in 25 cases, and the genitofemoral nerve in 2, either entrapped in mesh, scar, or with obvious neuroma (22 of 27 cases). The identified nerve was doubly ligated, cut, and buried in muscle at its most proximal point. At the 2-week follow-up evaluations, 14 (74%) of 19 patients noted definite pain improvement.

Nineteen (73%) of the 26 patients were contacted by telephone and agreed to participate in completing long-term follow-up questionnaires. The mean follow-up duration was 34.78 months. Return of pain was reported by 13 (68%) of 19 patients. Using a verbal numerical rating scale (0–10), pain was completely relieved in 27.8%, better in 38.9%, no better in 16.7%, and worse in 16.7% of patients.

Conclusions

Ilioinguinal neurectomy is an effective and appropriate treatment for selected patients with iatrogenic ilioinguinal neuralgia following abdominal surgery. Although a high proportion of patients reported some long-term recurrence of pain, complete or partial pain relief was achieved in 66.7% of the patients observed.

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Editorial

Deep brain stimulation and depression

Kim J. Burchiel

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Albert Lee, Shirley McCartney, Cole Burbidge, Ahmed M. Raslan and Kim J. Burchiel

Object

Vascular compression of the trigeminal nerve is the most common factor associated with the etiology of trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Microvascular decompression (MVD) has proven to be the most successful and durable surgical approach for this disorder. However, not all patients with TN manifest unequivocal neurovascular compression (NVC). Furthermore, over time patients with an initially successful MVD manifest a relentless rate of TN recurrence.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of cases of TN Type 1 (TN1) or Type 2 (TN2) involving patients 18 years or older who underwent evaluation (and surgery when indicated) at Oregon Health & Science University between July 2006 and February 2013. Surgical and imaging findings were correlated.

Results

The review identified a total of 257 patients with TN (219 with TN1 and 38 with TN2) who underwent high-resolution MRI and MR angiography with 3D reconstruction of combined images using OsiriX. Imaging data revealed that the occurrence of TN1 and TN2 without NVC was 28.8% and 18.4%, respectively. A subgroup of 184 patients underwent surgical exploration. Imaging findings were highly correlated with surgical findings, with a sensitivity of 96% for TN1 and TN2 and a specificity of 90% for TN1 and 66% for TN2.

Conclusions

Magnetic resonance imaging detects NVC with a high degree of sensitivity. However, despite a diagnosis of TN1 or TN2, a significant number of patients have no NVC. Trigeminal neuralgia clearly occurs and recurs in the absence of NVC.

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Jonathan P. Miller, Feridun Acar, Bronwyn E. Hamilton and Kim J. Burchiel

Object

Neurovascular compression (NVC) of the trigeminal nerve is associated with trigeminal neuralgia (TN), but also occurs in many patients without facial pain. This study is designed to identify anatomical characteristics of NVC associated with TN.

Methods

Thirty patients with Type 1 TN (intermittent shocklike pain) and 15 patients without facial pain underwent imaging for analysis of 30 trigeminal nerves ipsilateral to TN symptoms, 30 contralateral to TN symptoms, and 30 in asymptomatic patients. Patients underwent 3-T MR imaging including balanced fast-field echo and MR angiography. Images were fused and reconstructed into virtual cisternoscopy images that were evaluated to determine the presence and degree of NVC. Reconstructed coronal images were used to measure nerve diameter and crosssectional area.

Results

The incidence of arterial NVC in asymptomatic nerves, nerves contralateral to TN symptoms, and nerves ipsilateral to TN symptoms was 17%, 43%, and 57%, respectively. The difference between symptomatic and asymptomatic nerves was significant regarding the presence of NVC, nerve distortion, and the site of compression (p < 0.001, Fisher exact test). The most significant predictors of TN were compression of the proximal nerve (odds ratio 10.4) and nerve indentation or displacement (odds ratio 4.3). There was a tendency for the development of increasingly severe nerve compression with more advanced patient age across all groups. Decreased nerve size was observed in patients with TN but did not correlate with the presence or extent of NVC.

Conclusions

Trigeminal NVC occurs in asymptomatic patients but is more severe and more proximal in patients with TN. This information may help identify patients who are likely to benefit from microvascular decompression.

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Roberto C. Heros

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Kim J. Burchiel