Konstantinos Kouzounias, Göran Lind, Gastón Schechtmann, Jaleh Winter and Bengt Linderoth
The aim of this study was to compare percutaneous balloon compression (PBC) and percutaneous retrogasserian glycerol rhizotomy (PRGR) in terms of effectiveness, complications, and technical aspects.
Sixty-six consecutive PBC procedures were performed in 45 patients between January 2004 and December 2008, and 120 PRGR attempts were performed in 101 patients between January 2006 and December 2008. The PRGR procedures were not completed due to technical reasons in 19 cases. Five patients in the Balloon Compression Group and 9 patients in the Glycerol Group were lost to follow-up and were excluded from the study. The medical records and the intraoperative fluoroscopic images from the remaining cases were retrospectively examined, and the follow-up was completed with telephone contact, when necessary. The 2 groups were compared in terms of initial effect, duration of effect, and rates of complications as well as severity and type of complications.
The rates for immediate pain relief were 87% for patients treated with glycerol injection and 85% for patients treated with balloon compression. The Kaplan-Meier plots for the 2 treatment modalities were similar. The 50% recurrence time was 21 months for the balloon procedure and 16 months for the glycerol procedure. When the groups were broken down by the “previous operations” criterion, the 50% recurrence time was 24 months for the Glycerol First Procedure Group, 6 months for the Balloon First Procedure Group, 8 months for the Glycerol Previous Procedures Group, and 21 months for the Balloon Previous Procedures Group. The rates of complications (excluding numbness) were 11% for PRGR and 23% for PBC, and this difference was statistically significant (chi-square test, p = 0.04).
Both PRGR and PBC are effective techniques for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia, with PRGR presenting some advantages in terms of milder and fewer complications and allowing lighter anesthesia without compromise of analgesia. For these reasons the authors consider PRGR as the first option for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia in patients who are not suitable candidates or are not willing to undergo microvascular decompression, while PBC is reserved for patients in whom the effect of PRGR has proven to be short or difficult to repeat due to cisternal fibrosis.
Lars U. Wahlberg, Göran Lind, Per M. Almqvist, Philip Kusk, Jens Tornøe, Bengt Juliusson, Michael Söderman, Eva Selldén, Åke Seiger, Maria Eriksdotter-Jönhagen and Bengt Linderoth
The authors describe the first clinical trial with encapsulated cell biodelivery (ECB) implants that deliver nerve growth factor (NGF) to the cholinergic basal forebrain with the intention of halting the degeneration of cholinergic neurons and the associated cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer disease (AD). The NsG0202 implant (NsGene A/S) consists of an NGF-producing, genetically engineered human cell line encapsulated behind a semipermeable hollow fiber membrane that allows the influx of nutrients and the efflux of NGF. The centimeter-long capsule is attached to an inert polymer tether that is used to guide the capsule to the target via stereotactic techniques and is anchored to the skull at the bur hole.
Six patients with mild to moderate AD were included in this Phase Ib open-label safety study and were divided into 2 dose cohorts. The first cohort of 3 patients received single implants targeting the basal nucleus of Meynert (Ch4 region) bilaterally (2 implants per patient), and after a safety evaluation, a second cohort of 3 patients received bilateral implants (a total of 4 implants per patient) targeting both the Ch4 region and the vertical limb of the diagonal band of Broca (Ch2 region). Stereotactic implantation of the devices was successfully accomplished in all patients. Despite extensive brain atrophy, all targets could be reached without traversing sulci, the insula, or lateral ventricles.
Postoperative CT scans allowed visualization of the barium-impregnated tethers, and fusion of the scans with stereotactic MR images scan was used to verify the intended positions of the implants. Follow-up MRI at 3 and 12 months postimplantation showed no evidence of inflammation or device displacement. At 12 months, implants were successfully retrieved, and low but persistent NGF secretion was detected in half of the patients.
With refinement, the ECB technology is positioned to become an important therapeutic platform in restorative neurosurgery and, in combination with other therapeutic factors, may be relevant for the treatment of a variety of neurological disorders. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01163825.