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Jason S. Cheng, Rene O. Sanchez-Mejia, Mary Limbo, Mariann M. Ward and Nicholas M. Barbaro

Object

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a painful disorder that frequently causes lancinating, electrical shock–like pain in the trigeminal distribution. Common surgical treatments include microvascular decompression (MVD), radio-surgery, and radiofrequency ablation, and complete pain relief is generally achieved with a single treatment in 70 to 85% of cases for all modalities. In a subset of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), however, the rates of surgical treatment failure and the need for additional procedures are significantly increased compared with those in patients without MS. In this study the authors report their experience with a cohort of 11 patients with TN who also had MS, and assess the efficacy of MVD, gamma knife surgery (GKS), and radiofrequency ablation in achieving complete or partial long-term pain relief.

Methods

Eleven patients with TN and MS who were treated by the senior author (N.B.) at the University of California, San Francisco were included in this study. All patients underwent GKS and/or radiofrequency ablation, and four received MVD. A detailed clinical history and intraoperative findings were recorded for each patient and frequent follow-up evaluations were performed, with a mean follow-up duration of 40.6 months (range 1–96 months). Pain was assessed for each patient by using the Barrow Neurological Institute scale (Scores I–V).

Conclusions

Achieving complete pain relief in patients with TN and MS required significantly more treatments compared with all other patients with TN who did not have MS (p = 0.004). Even when compared with a group of 32 patients who had highly refractory TN, the cohort with MS required significantly more treatments (p = 0.05). Radiosurgery proved to be an effective procedure and resulted in fewer retreatments and longer pain-free intervals compared with MVD or radiofrequency ablation.

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Rene O. Sanchez-Mejia, Mary Limbo, Jason S. Cheng, Joaquin Camara, Mariann M. Ward and Nicholas M. Barbaro

Object

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is characterized by paroxysmal lancinating pain in the trigeminal nerve distribution. When TN is refractory to medical management, patients are referred for microvascular decompression (MVD), radiofrequency ablation, or radiosurgery. After the initial treatment, patients may have refractory or recurrent symptoms requiring retreatment. The purpose of this study was to determine what factors are associated with the need for retreatment and which modality is most effective.

Methods

To define this population further, the authors evaluated a cohort of patients who required retreatment for TN. The mean follow-up periods were 51 months from the first treatment and 23 months from the last one, and these were comparable among treatment groups.

Conclusions

Trigeminal neuralgia can recur after neurosurgical treatment. In this study the authors demonstrate that the number of patients requiring retreatment is not negligible. Lower retreatment rates were seen in patients who initially underwent radiosurgery, compared with those in whom MVD or radiofrequency ablation were performed. Radiosurgery was more likely to be the final treatment for recurrent TN regardless of the initial treatment. After retreatment, the majority of patients attained complete or very good pain relief. Pain relief after retreatment correlates with postoperative facial numbness.

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Doris D. Wang, Kunal P. Raygor, Tene A. Cage, Mariann M. Ward, Sarah Westcott, Nicholas M. Barbaro and Edward F. Chang

OBJECTIVE

Common surgical treatments for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) include microvascular decompression (MVD), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), and radiofrequency ablation (RFA). Although the efficacy of each procedure has been described, few studies have directly compared these treatment modalities on pain control for TN. Using a large prospective longitudinal database, the authors aimed to 1) directly compare long-term pain control rates for first-time surgical treatments for idiopathic TN, and 2) identify predictors of pain control.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a prospectively collected database for all patients who underwent treatment for TN between 1997 and 2014 at the University of California, San Francisco. Standardized collection of data on preoperative clinical characteristics, surgical procedure, and postoperative outcomes was performed. Data analyses were limited to those patients who received a first-time procedure for treatment of idiopathic TN with > 1 year of follow-up.

RESULTS

Of 764 surgical procedures performed at the University of California, San Francisco, for TN (364 SRS, 316 MVD, and 84 RFA), 340 patients underwent first-time treatment for idiopathic TN (164 MVD, 168 SRS, and 8 RFA) and had > 1 year of follow-up. The analysis was restricted to patients who underwent MVD or SRS. Patients who received MVD were younger than those who underwent SRS (median age 63 vs 72 years, respectively; p < 0.001). The mean follow-up was 59 ± 35 months for MVD and 59 ± 45 months for SRS. Approximately 38% of patients who underwent MVD or SRS had > 5 years of follow-up (60 of 164 and 64 of 168 patients, respectively). Immediate or short-term (< 3 months) postoperative pain-free rates (Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity score of I) were 96% for MVD and 75% for SRS. Percentages of patients with Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity score of I at 1, 5, and 10 years after MVD were 83%, 61%, and 44%, and the corresponding percentages after SRS were 71%, 47%, and 27%, respectively. The median time to pain recurrence was 94 months (25th–75th quartiles: 57–131 months) for MVD and 53 months (25th–75th quartiles: 37–69 months) for SRS (p = 0.006). A subset of patients who had MVD also underwent partial sensory rhizotomy, usually in the setting of insignificant vascular compression. Compared with MVD alone, those who underwent MVD plus partial sensory rhizotomy had shorter pain-free intervals (median 45 months vs no median reached; p = 0.022). Multivariable regression demonstrated that shorter preoperative symptom duration (HR 1.005, 95% CI 1.001–1.008; p = 0.006) was associated with favorable outcome for MVD and that post-SRS sensory changes (HR 0.392, 95% CI 0.213–0.723; p = 0.003) were associated with favorable outcome for SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

In this longitudinal study, patients who received MVD had longer pain-free intervals compared with those who underwent SRS. For patients who received SRS, postoperative sensory change was predictive of favorable outcome. However, surgical decision making depends upon many factors. This information can help physicians counsel patients with idiopathic TN on treatment selection.

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Kunal P. Raygor, Doris D. Wang, Mariann M. Ward, Nicholas M. Barbaro and Edward F. Chang

OBJECTIVE

Microvascular decompression (MVD) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) are common surgical treatments for trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Many patients who receive SRS have pain recurrence; the ideal second intervention is unknown. The authors directly compared pain outcomes after MVD and repeat SRS in a population of patients in whom SRS failed as their first-line procedure for TN, and they identified predictors of pain control.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a prospectively collected database of patients undergoing surgery for TN between 1997 and 2014 at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Standardized data collection focused on preoperative clinical characteristics, surgical characteristics, and postoperative outcomes. Patients with typical type 1, idiopathic TN with ≥ 1 year of follow-up were included.

RESULTS

In total, 168 patients underwent SRS as their first procedure. Of these patients, 90 had residual or recurrent pain. Thirty of these patients underwent a second procedure at UCSF and had ≥ 1 year of follow-up; 15 underwent first-time MVD and 15 underwent repeat SRS. Patients undergoing MVD were younger than those receiving repeat SRS and were more likely to receive ≥ 80 Gy during the initial SRS. The average follow-up was 44.9 ± 33.6 months for MVD and 48.3 ± 45.3 months for SRS. All patients achieved complete pain freedom without medication at some point during their follow-up. At last follow-up, 80% of MVD-treated patients and 33.3% of SRS-treated patients had a favorable outcome, defined as Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity scores of I–IIIa (p < 0.05). Percentages of patients with favorable outcome at 1 and 5 years were 86% and 75% for the MVD cohort and 73% and 27% for the SRS cohort, respectively (p < 0.05). Multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis demonstrated that performing MVD was statistically significantly associated with favorable outcome (HR 0.12, 95% CI 0.02–0.60, p < 0.01). There were no statistically significant predictors of favorable outcome in the MVD cohort; however, the presence of sensory changes after repeat SRS was associated with pain relief (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who received MVD after failed SRS had a longer duration of favorable outcome compared to those who received repeat SRS; however, both modalities are safe and effective. The presence of post-SRS sensory changes was predictive of a favorable pain outcome in the SRS cohort.