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Ronald Brisman

✓ Bilateral trigeminal neuralgia occurred in 32 (11.9%) of 269 consecutive patients who were treated with radiofrequency electrocoagulation (RFE). This is a higher incidence than has been reported before and may be explained by the prospective nature of the present study, the long follow-up period, and the inclusion of patients with mild bilateral symptoms. Multiple sclerosis is the most common predisposing factor and occurred in 18% of those with bilateral trigeminal neuralgia. Although patients with bilateral trigeminal neuralgia were more likely to have had prior surgery than those with unilateral neuralgia, they did not have a higher recurrence rate following treatment. Percutaneous RFE of the retrogasserian rootlets and gasserian ganglion, with or without glycerol, is effective in managing patients whose pain is intractable to medical therapy. The preservation of most trigeminal sensory and motor functions, the low morbidity rate, and the ability to repeat the procedure are particularly advantageous for patients with bilateral involvement.

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Ronald Brisman

Object. The author presents a large series of patients with idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia (TN) who were treated with gamma knife surgery (GKS), at a maximum dose of 75 to 76.8 Gy, and followed up in a nearly uniform manner for up to 4.6 years.

Methods. Two hundred ninety-three patients were treated and followed up for at least 6 months (range 0.4–4.6 years, median 1.9 years). At the final follow-up review, there was complete (100%) pain relief without medicines in 64 patients (21.8%), 90% or greater relief with or without small doses of medicines in 86 (29.4%), between 75 and 89% relief in 31 (10.6%), between 50 and 74% relief in 19 (6.5%), and less than 50% relief in 23 patients (7.8%). Recurrent pain requiring a second procedure occurred in 70 patients (23.9%). Kaplan—Meier analysis showed that 100%, 90% or greater, and 50% or greater pain relief was obtained and maintained for 3.5 to 4.1 years in 5.6 , 23.7, and 50.4% patients, respectively. Of 31 patients who described pain relief ranging from 75 to 89%, 80% of patients described it as good and 10% as excellent; of 17 patients who reported between 50 and 74% pain relief, 53% described it as good and none as excellent (p = 0.014). Dysesthesia scores greater than 5 (scale of 0–10, in which a score of 10 represents excruciating pain) occurred in four (3.2%) of 126 patients who had not undergone prior surgery; all these patients obtained either good or excellent relief from TN pain. There were 36 patients in whom the TN had atypical features; these patients were less likely to attain at least 50% or at least 90% pain relief compared with those without atypical TN features (p = 0.001).

Conclusions. Gamma knife surgery is a safe and effective way to relieve TN. Patients who attain between 75 and 89% pain relief are much more likely to describe this outcome as good or excellent than those who attain between 50 and 74% pain relief.

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Ronald Brisman

Object. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) as the primary rather than secondary management for trigeminal neuralgia.

Methods. Eighty-two patients underwent GKS as their first neurosurgical intervention (Group A), and 90 patients underwent GKS following a different procedure (Group B). All GKS patients were treated with a maximum dose of 75 Gy. The single 4-mm isocenter was placed close to the junction of the trigeminal nerve and the brainstem. Six-month follow up was available for 126 patients and 12-month follow up for 84 patients.

Excellent (no pain and no medicine) or good (at least 50% reduction in pain and less medicine) relief was more likely to occur in Group A than in Group B patients 6 and 12 months following GKS for trigeminal neuralgia (p = 0.058). Excellent or good results were also more likely in patients with trigeminal neuralgia without multiple sclerosis (MS) (p = 0.042). The number and type of procedures performed prior to GKS, the interval between the last procedure and GKS, and the interval from first symptom to GKS (within Groups A and B) did not affect 6-month outcome. The interval between first symptom and GKS was shorter in Group A patients without MS (87 months) than in Group B (148 months; p < 0.004). There were no significant differences between Group A and B patients with regard to sex, age, or laterality.

Conclusions. Patients with trigeminal neuralgia who are treated with GKS as primary management have better pain relief than those treated with GKS as secondary management. Patients are more likely to have pain relief if they do not have MS.

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Lester A. Mount and Ronald Brisman

✓ The authors report a series of 70 patients with 161 multiple intracranial aneurysms. There was no mortality in 23 patients in whom all aneurysms were treated intracranially. Unoperated aneurysms later caused morbidity or mortality in eight of 33 patients. The authors believe that patients who have had a subarachnoid hemorrhage should have four-vessel arteriography to identify all aneurysms, and that all surgically accessible aneurysms should be treated, preferably intracranially in good-risk patients who have no disabling neurological deficit.

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Ronald Brisman and Jerry Mendell

✓ The relationship between brain tumor location and thromboembolism was studied by a retrospective review of autopsy and clinical material. Patients with suprasellar tumors had a higher incidence of thromboembolic complications than those with tumors in other locations. An associated derangement of hypothalamic function is suggested as predisposing to thromboembolism.

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Ronald Brisman and R. Mooij

Object. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between the volume of brainstem that receives 20% or more of the maximum dose (VB20) and the volume of the trigeminal nerve that receives 50% or more of the maximum dose (VT50) on clinical outcome following gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) for trigeminal neuralgia (TN).

Methods. Patients with TN were treated with a single 4-mm isocenter with a maximum dose of 75 Gy directed at the trigeminal nerve close to where it leaves the brainstem. The VB20 and VT50, as determined on dose—volume histograms, were correlated with clinical outcomes at 6 and 12 months, laterality, presence of multiple sclerosis (MS), and each other.

At 6 months excellent pain relief (no pain or required medicine) was achieved in 27 of 48 patients (p = 0.009) when VB20 was greater than or equal to 20 mm3 and in 25 of 78 when VB20 was less than 20 mm3, when all patients are considered. At 12 months excellent pain relief was achieved in 16 of 32 patients (p = 0.038) when VB20 was greater than or equal to 20 mm3 and in 14 of 52 when VB20 less than 20 mm3, when all patients are considered. When VB20 was less than 20 mm3 in MS patients, five of 21 had an excellent result at 6 months and two of 13 at 12 months. The VB20 was 20 mm3 or more in 38 of 64 on the right side and in eight of 41 on the left side (p < 0.001) in patients with TN and without MS. There is a difference between left and right dose—volume histograms even when the same isodose is placed on the surface of the brainstem.

The VB20 was 20 mm3 or more in 45 of 105 patients with TN and without MS but in only three of 21 patients with TN and MS (p = 0.014). There was an inverse relationship between VB20 and VT50 (p = 0.01).

Conclusions. Isocenter proximity to the brainstem, as reflected in a higher VB20, is associated with a greater chance of excellent outcome at 6 and 12 months. Worse results in patients with TN and MS may be partly explained by a lower VB20.

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Familial gliomas

Report of four cases

Howard H. Kaufman and Ronald Brisman

✓ A report of two more instances of familial gliomas is presented, in one instance glioblastomas in two brothers and in the other posterior fossa astrocytomas in first cousins.

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Ronald Brisman and Kazem Abbassioun

✓ Six cases of intracranial aneurysms are described in three families: two sisters, identical twins, and a mother and daughter. The cases suggest a hereditary basis for some intracranial aneurysms.