Editorial: Microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia
Kim J. Burchiel
Microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia
Kim J. Burchiel
Microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia in elderly patients
Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Edward M. Marchan, Lynn H. Fletcher, Kenneth F. Casey, and Peter J. Jannetta
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.
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.
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).
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.
Microvascular decompression for elderly patients with trigeminal neuralgia: a prospective study and systematic review with meta-analysis
Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Andrew M. Frederickson, Peter J. Jannetta, Matthew R. Quigley, Khaled M. Aziz, and Gregory D. Arnone
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.
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.
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.
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.
Microvascular decompression after failed Gamma Knife surgery for trigeminal neuralgia: a safe and effective rescue therapy?
Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Andrew M. Frederickson, Peter J. Jannetta, Sanjay Bhatia, and Matthew R. Quigley
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.
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.
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.
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.
Long-term survival enhanced by cordectomy in a patient with a spinal glioblastoma multiforme and paraplegia
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.
Central brain herniation secondary to fulminant acute disseminated encephalomyelitis: implications for neurosurgical management
Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Edward M. Marchan, Parviz Baghai, Peter J. Jannetta, and Matthew R. Quigley
✓ Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), also known as postinfectious encephalomyelitis, is an immunologically mediated demyelinating disorder affecting the central nervous system that typically occurs after infection or vaccination. The prognosis of ADEM is generally favorable. In a small subset of patients with ADEM, however, fulminant cerebral edema requiring neurosurgical intervention will develop. Few recommendations are available to help the neurosurgeon in dealing with such cases. In this report, the authors present the case of a patient with ADEM in whom central brain herniation developed secondary to medically intractable cerebral edema. The authors review the salient features of the disease and suggest a role for neurosurgeons in cases of fulminant ADEM.
An investigation into quality of life improvement in patients undergoing microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm
Jesse D. Lawrence, Andrew M. Frederickson, Yue-Fang Chang, Patricia M. Weiss, Peter C. Gerszten, and Raymond F. Sekula Jr.
Hemifacial spasm (HFS) is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary spasms of the facial muscles, and it can negatively impact quality of life (QOL). This retrospective study and systematic review with meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the QOL in patients with HFS following intervention with microvascular decompression (MVD) and botulinum toxin (BT).
In the retrospective analysis, a QOL questionnaire was administered to all patients undergoing MVD performed by a single surgeon. The QOL questionnaire included unique questions developed based on the authors' experience with HFS patients in addition to the health-related QOL HFS-8 questionnaire. The authors also report on a systematic review of the English literature providing outcomes and complications in patients with HFS undergoing treatment with either MVD or BT.
Regarding the retrospective analysis, 242 of 331 patients completed the questionnaire. The mean score of the 10 QOL questions improved from 22.78 (SD 9.83) to 2.17 (SD 5.75) following MVD (p < 0.001). There was significant improvement across all subscales of the questionnaire between pre- and postoperative responses (p < 0.001). Regarding the systematic review, it is reported that approximately 90% of patients undergoing MVD for HFS experience a complete recovery from symptoms, whereas the mean peak improvement of symptoms following treatment with BT is 77%. Furthermore, patients undergoing MVD reported a greater improvement in the mean supplemental index of QOL as compared with patients receiving BT therapy.
Microvascular decompression offers a significant improvement in QOL in well-selected patients suffering from HFS, and may offer an increased benefit for QOL over BT injections.
Reduction in high-frequency hearing loss following technical modifications to microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm
Parthasarathy Thirumala, Andrew M. Frederickson, Jeffrey Balzer, Donald Crammond, Miguel E. Habeych, Yue-Fang Chang, and Raymond F. Sekula Jr.
Microvascular decompression is a safe and effective procedure to treat hemifacial spasm, but the operation poses some risk to the patient’s hearing. While severe sensorineural hearing loss across all frequencies occurs at a low rate in experienced hands, a recent study suggests that as many as one-half of patients who undergo this procedure may experience ipsilateral high-frequency hearing loss (HFHL), and as many as one-quarter may experience contralateral HFHL. While it has been suggested that drill-related noise may account for this finding, this study was designed to examine the effect of a number of techniques designed to protect the vestibulocochlear nerve from operative manipulation on the incidence of HFHL.
Pure-tone audiometry was performed both preoperatively and postoperatively on 67 patients who underwent microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm during the study period. A change of greater than 10 dB at either 4 kHz or 8 kHz was considered to be HFHL. Additionally, the authors analyzed intraoperative brainstem auditory evoked potentials from this patient cohort.
The incidence of ipsilateral HFHL in this cohort was 7.4%, while the incidence of contralateral HFHL was 4.5%. One patient (1.5%; also included in the HFHL group) experienced an ipsilateral nonserviceable hearing loss.
The reduced incidence of HFHL in this study suggests that technical modifications including performing the procedure without the use of fixed retraction may greatly reduce, but not eliminate, the occurrence of HFHL following microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm.
Brachial plexopathy due to chondrolipoangioma
Case report and review of the literature
Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Michael Y. Oh, J. Brad Bellotte, and Jack E. Wilberger
✓ Chondrolipoangioma is a mesenchymoma primarily composed of cartilage, with adipose tissue and vascular elements present in lesser proportions. Chondrolipoangiomas have been reported to occur in the extremities, chest wall, oral soft tissues, mediastinum, uterus and its round ligament, seminal vesicles, and heart. In this report, the authors present an unusual case in which a chondrolipoangioma caused a brachial plexopathy. To their knowledge, a chondrolipoangioma has never been reported in the neurosurgical literature.