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Introduction

Trigeminal neuralgia

Peter J. Jannetta

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Edward M. Marchan, Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Peter J. Jannetta and Matthew R. Quigley

✓Spinal glioblastomas multiforme (GBMs) are rare lesions of the central nervous system with a prognosis as poor as that of their intracranial counterpart. The authors present a case of a 50-year-old man with a GBM of the spinal cord treated with surgical removal of the mass and cordectomy after the onset of paraplegia. Six years later, the patient developed hepatitis C and received interferon therapy. Six months after the start of interferon therapy, magnetic resonance imaging revealed a right cerebellar mass pathologically consistent with a GBM. Despite aggressive treatment, the patient died 1 month later. Although intracranial dissemination of spinal GBMs has been reported, this case illustrates the longest reported interval between the occurrence of a spinal GBM and its intracranial dissemination. Thus, cordectomy should be considered as a reasonable alternative in patients with complete loss of neurological function at and below the level where they harbor a malignant spinal cord astrocytoma.

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Kim J. Burchiel

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Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Edward M. Marchan, Lynn H. Fletcher, Kenneth F. Casey and Peter J. Jannetta

Object

Although microvascular decompression (MVD) for patients with medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is widely accepted as the treatment of choice, other “second-tier” treatments are frequently offered to elderly patients due to concerns regarding fitness for surgery. The authors sought to determine the safety and effectiveness of MVD for TN in patients older than 75 years of age.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of medical records and conducted follow-up telephone interviews with the patients. The outcome data from 25 MVD operations for TN performed in 25 patients with a mean age of 79.4 years (range 75–88 years) were compared with those of a control group of 25 younger patients with a mean age of 42.3 years (range 17–50 years) who underwent MVDs during the same 30-month period from July 2000 to December 2003.

Results

Initial pain relief was achieved in 96% of the patients in both groups (p = 1.0). There were no operative deaths in either group. After an average follow-up period of 44 and 52 months, 78 and 72% of patients in the elderly and control groups, respectively, remained pain free without medication (p = 0.74).

Conclusions

Microvascular decompression is an effective treatment for elderly patients with TN. The authors' experience suggests that the rate of complications and death after MVD for TN in elderly patients is no different from the rate in younger patients.

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Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Sanjay Bhatia, Andrew M. Frederickson, Peter J. Jannetta, Matthew R. Quigley, George A. Small and Ryan Breisinger

Object

In this paper, the authors' goal was to determine the utility of monitoring the abnormal muscle response (AMR) or “lateral spread” during microvascular decompression surgery for hemifacial spasm.

Methods

The authors' experience with AMR as well as the data available in the English-language literature regarding resolution or persistence of AMR and the resolution or persistence of hemifacial spasm at follow-up was pooled and subjected to a meta-analysis.

Results

The pooled OR revealed by the meta-analysis was 4.2 (95% CI 2.7–6.7). The chance of a cure if the AMR was abolished during surgery was 4.2 times greater than if the lateral spread persisted.

Conclusions

The AMR should be monitored routinely in the operating room, and surgical decision-making in the operating room should be augmented by the AMR.

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Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Andrew M. Frederickson, Peter J. Jannetta, Sanjay Bhatia, Matthew R. Quigley and Khaled M. Abdel Aziz

Object

The authors have the clinical impression that patients with isolated V2, or maxillary division, trigeminal neuralgia (TN) are most often women of a younger age with atypical pain features and a predominance of venous compression as the pathology. The aim of this study was to evaluate a specific subgroup of patients with V2 TN.

Methods

Among 120 patients who underwent microvascular decompression (MVD) for TN in 2007, data were available for 114; 6 patients were lost to follow-up. Patients were stratified according to typical (Burchiel Type 1), mixed (Burchiel Type 2a), or atypical (Burchiel Type 2b) TN. A pain-free status without medication was used to determine the efficacy of MVD. All patients were contacted in June 2008 and again in January 2009 at 12–24 months after surgery (median 18.4 months) and asked to rate their response to MVD as excellent (complete pain relief without medication), fair (complete pain relief with medication or some relief with or without medication), or poor (continued pain despite medication; that is, no change from their preoperative baseline pain status.

Results

Of 114 patients, 14 (12%) had isolated V2 TN. Among these 14 were 2 typical (14%), 1 mixed (7%), and 11 atypical cases (79%) of TN. Among the remaining 100 cases were 37 typical (37%), 14 mixed (14%), and 49 atypical cases (49%) of TN. In the isolated V2 TN group, all patients were women as compared with 72% of women in the larger group of 100 patients (p = 0.05, chi-square test). The average age in the isolated V2 TN group was 51.2 years (median 48.1 years) versus 54.2 years (median 54.0 years) in the remainder of the group (p = NS, unpaired Student t-test). In the isolated V2 TN group, there was a predominance of atypical pain cases (79%) versus 49% in the remainder of the group, and this finding trended toward statistical significance (p = 0.07, chi-square test). Venous contact or compression (partly or wholly) was noted in 93% of the patients with isolated V2 versus 69% of the remainder of the group (p = 0.13, chi-square test). The likelihood of excellent outcomes in the patients with V2 TN (71%) was compared with that in typical pain cases (79%) among patients in the rest of the group (that is, the bestoutcome group), and no difference was found between the 2 groups (p = 0.8, chi-square test).

Conclusions

The authors confirmed that patients with isolated V2 TN were more likely to be female, tended toward an atypical pain classification with venous pathology at surgery, and fared just as well as those presenting with typical pain.

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Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Andrew M. Frederickson, Peter J. Jannetta, Sanjay Bhatia and Matthew R. Quigley

Object

Stereotactic radiosurgical rhizolysis using Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) is an increasingly popular treatment for medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia. Because of the increasing use of GKS for trigeminal neuralgia, clinicians are faced with the problem of choosing a subsequent treatment plan if GKS fails. This study was conducted to identify whether microvascular decompression (MVD) is a safe and effective treatment for patients who experience trigeminal neuralgia symptoms after GKS.

Methods

From their records, the authors identified 29 consecutive patients who, over a 2-year period, underwent MVD following failed GKS. During MVD, data regarding thickened arachnoid, adhesions between vessels and the trigeminal nerve, and trigeminal nerve atrophy/discoloration were noted. Outcome and complication data were also recorded.

Results

The MVD procedure was completed in 28 patients (97%). Trigeminal nerve atrophy was noted in 14 patients (48%). A thickened arachnoid was noted in 1 patient (3%). Adhesions between vessels and the trigeminal nerve were noted in 6 patients (21%) and prevented MVD in 1 patient. At last follow-up, 15 patients (54%) reported an excellent outcome after MVD, 1 (4%) reported a good outcome, 2 (7%) reported a fair outcome, and 10 patients (36%) reported a poor outcome. After MVD, new or worsened facial numbness occurred in 6 patients (21%). Additionally, 3 patients (11%) developed new or worsened troubling dysesthesias.

Conclusions

Thickened arachnoid, adhesions between vessels and the trigeminal nerve, and trigeminal nerve atrophy/discoloration due to GKS did not prevent completion of MVD. An MVD is an appropriate and safe “rescue” therapy following GKS, although the risks of numbness and troubling dysesthesias appear to be higher than with MVD alone.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010

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Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Andrew M. Frederickson, Peter J. Jannetta, Matthew R. Quigley, Khaled M. Aziz and Gregory D. Arnone

Object

Because the incidence of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) increases with age, neurosurgeons frequently encounter elderly patients with this disorder. Although microvascular decompression (MVD) is the only etiological therapy for TN with the highest initial efficacy and durability of all treatments, it is nonetheless associated with special risks (cerebellar hematoma, cranial nerve injury, stroke, and death) not seen with the commonly performed ablative procedures. Thus, the safety of MVD in the elderly remains a concern. This prospective study and systematic review with meta-analysis was conducted to determine whether MVD is a safe and effective treatment in elderly patients with TN.

Methods

In this prospectively conducted analysis, 36 elderly patients (mean age 73.0 ± 5.9 years) and 53 nonelderly patients (mean age 52.9 ± 8.8 years) underwent MVD over the study period. Outcome and complication data were recorded.

The authors also conducted a systematic review of the English literature published before December 2009 and providing outcomes and complications of MVD in patients with TN above the age of 60 years. Pooled complication rates of stroke, death, cerebellar hematoma, and permanent cranial nerve deficits were analyzed.

Results

Thirty-one elderly patients (86.1%) reported an excellent outcome after MVD (mean follow-up 20.0 ± 7.0 months). Twenty-five elderly patients with Type 1 TN were compared with 26 nonelderly patients with Type 1 TN, and no significant difference in outcomes was found (p = 0.046). Three elderly patients with Type 2a TN were compared with 12 nonelderly patients with Type 2a TN, and no significant difference in outcomes was noted (p = 1.0). Eight elderly patients with Type 2b TN were compared with 15 nonelderly patients with Type 2b TN, and no significant difference in outcomes was noted (p = 0.086). The median length of stay between cohorts was compared, and no significant difference was noted (2 days for each cohort, p = 0.33). There were no CSF leaks, no cerebellar hematomas, no strokes, and no deaths.

Eight studies (1334 patients) met the inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis. For none of the complications was the incidence significantly more frequent in elderly patients than in the nonelderly.

Conclusions

Although patient selection remains important, the authors' experience and the results of this systematic review with meta-analysis suggest that the majority of elderly patients with TN can safely undergo MVD.