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Jonathan P. Miller, Stephen T. Magill, Feridun Acar and Kim J. Burchiel

Object

Microvascular decompression (MVD) is an effective treatment for trigeminal neuralgia (TN). However, many patients do not experience complete pain relief, and relapse can occur even after an initial excellent result. This study was designed to identify characteristics associated with improved long-term outcome after MVD.

Methods

One hundred seventy-nine consecutive patients who had undergone MVD for TN at the authors' institution were contacted, and 95 were enrolled in the study. Patients provided information about preoperative pain characteristics including preponderance of shock-like (Type 1 TN) or constant (Type 2 TN) pain, preoperative duration, trigger points, anticonvulsant therapy response, memorable onset, and pain-free intervals. Three groups were defined based on outcome: 1) excellent, pain relief without medication; 2) good, mild or intermittent pain controlled with low-dose medication; and 3) poor, severe persistent pain or need for additional surgical treatment.

Results

Type of TN pain (Type 1 TN vs Type 2 TN) was the only significant predictor of outcome after MVD. Results were excellent, good, and poor for Type 1 TN versus Type 2 TN patients in 60 versus 25%, 24 versus 39%, and 16 versus 36%, respectively. Among patients with each TN type, there was a significant trend toward better outcome with greater proportional contribution of Type 1 TN (lancinating) symptoms (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

Pain relief after MVD is strongly correlated with the lancinating pain component, and therefore type of TN pain is the best predictor of long-term outcome after MVD. Application of this information should be helpful in the selection of TN patients likely to benefit from MVD.

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Andrew C. Zacest, Stephen T. Magill, Valerie C. Anderson and Kim J. Burchiel

Object

Ilioinguinal neuralgia is one cause of chronic groin pain following inguinal hernia repair, and it affects ~ 10% of patients. Selective ilioinguinal neurectomy is one proposed treatment option for carefully selected patients. The goal of this study was to determine the long-term outcome of patients who underwent selective ilioinguinal neurectomy for chronic post-hernia pain.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the clinical assessment, surgical treatment, and long-term outcome in 26 patients with ilioinguinal neuralgia who underwent selective ilioinguinal neurectomy performed by the senior author (K.J.B.) at Oregon Health & Science University between 1998 and 2008. Data were collected from patient charts and a follow-up telephone questionnaire.

Results

Twenty-six patients (14 men and 12 women) had a clinical diagnosis of ilioinguinal neuralgia based on a history of radiating neuropathic groin, medial thigh, and genitalia pain. One patient had bilateral disease (therefore there were 27 surgical cases). A selective nerve block was performed in 21 (81%) of 26 patients and was positive in 20 (77%) of the 26. In all but 2 patients, pain onset followed abdominal surgery (for hernia repair in 18 patients), and was immediate in 16 (67%) of 24 patients. The mean patient age was 48.7 years, and the mean duration of pain prior to neurosurgical consultation was 3.9 years. Surgery was performed after induction of local or general anesthesia in 17 and 10 cases, respectively. The ilioinguinal nerve was identified in 25 cases, and the genitofemoral nerve in 2, either entrapped in mesh, scar, or with obvious neuroma (22 of 27 cases). The identified nerve was doubly ligated, cut, and buried in muscle at its most proximal point. At the 2-week follow-up evaluations, 14 (74%) of 19 patients noted definite pain improvement.

Nineteen (73%) of the 26 patients were contacted by telephone and agreed to participate in completing long-term follow-up questionnaires. The mean follow-up duration was 34.78 months. Return of pain was reported by 13 (68%) of 19 patients. Using a verbal numerical rating scale (0–10), pain was completely relieved in 27.8%, better in 38.9%, no better in 16.7%, and worse in 16.7% of patients.

Conclusions

Ilioinguinal neurectomy is an effective and appropriate treatment for selected patients with iatrogenic ilioinguinal neuralgia following abdominal surgery. Although a high proportion of patients reported some long-term recurrence of pain, complete or partial pain relief was achieved in 66.7% of the patients observed.

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Editorial

Constant facial pain in the trigeminal distribution. Does it respond to microvascular decompression?

Roberto C. Heros

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Andrew C. Zacest, Stephen T. Magill, Jonathan Miller and Kim J. Burchiel

Object

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a neuropathic pain syndrome that is often associated with neurovascular compression of the trigeminal nerve and may be effectively treated with microvascular decompression (MVD). The authors used high-resolution MR imaging with 3D reconstruction in patients with constant facial pain (Type 2 TN) to determine the presence/absence of neurovascular compression and thus a potential MVD benefit. They retrospectively contacted patients to evaluate outcome.

Methods

All patients who reported spontaneous onset of constant facial pain (Type 2 TN), which occurred at least 50% of the time, who had undergone high-resolution 3-T MR imaging with 3D reconstruction were retrospectively selected for this study. Clinical history, facial pain questionnaire data, physical examination findings, and results from 3-T 3D MR imaging reconstruction were recorded for all patients. Intraoperative findings and clinical pain outcome were recorded for all patients who underwent MVD.

Results

Data obtained in 27 patients were assessed. On the basis of history and 3D MR imaging reconstruction findings, 13 patients were selected for MVD (Group A) and 14 underwent conservative treatment (Group B). Typical or suspected artery- or vein-induced neurovascular compression was predicted preoperatively in 100% of Group A patients and in 0% of Group B patients. At the time of MVD, definitive neurovascular compression was confirmed in 11 (84.6%) of 13 Group A patients. Following MVD, facial pain was completely relieved in 3 (23%), improved in 7 (53.8%), and no better in 3 (23%) of 13 Group A patients. A history of episodic (Type 1 TN) pain at any time was reported in 100 and 50% of Group A and Group B patients, respectively. A Type 1 TN pain component was reportedly improved/relieved in all Group A patients, but the Type 2 TN pain component was improved in only 7 (53.8%) of 13 patients. The mean postoperative follow-up duration was 13 months.

Conclusions

High-resolution 3D MR imaging reconstruction in patients with constant facial pain (Type 2 TN) can help determine the presence/absence of neurovascular compression. Surgical selection based on both clinical and radiological criteria has the potential to improve surgical outcome in patients with Type 2 TN who may potentially benefit from MVD. However, even in such selected patients, pain relief is likely to be incomplete.

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Darryl Lau, Stephen T. Magill and Manish K. Aghi

Object

Glioblastoma is the most aggressive and diffusely infiltrative primary brain tumor. Recurrence is expected and is extremely difficult to treat. Over the past decade, the accumulation of knowledge regarding the molecular and genetic profile of glioblastoma has led to numerous molecularly targeted therapies. This article aims to review the literature and highlight the mechanisms and efficacies of molecularly targeted therapies for recurrent glioblastoma.

Methods

A systematic search was performed with the phrase “(name of particular agent) and glioblastoma” as a search term in PubMed to identify all articles published up until 2014 that included this phrase in the title and/or abstract. The references of systematic reviews were also reviewed for additional sources. The review included clinical studies that comprised at least 20 patients and reported results for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma with molecular targeted therapies.

Results

A total of 42 articles were included in this review. In the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma, various targeted therapies have been tested over the past 10–15 years. The targets of interest include epidermal growth factor receptor, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, platelet-derived growth factor receptor, Ras pathway, protein kinase C, mammalian target of rapamycin, histone acetylation, and integrins. Unfortunately, the clinical responses to most available targeted therapies are modest at best. Radiographic responses generally range in the realm of 5%–20%. Progression-free survival at 6 months and overall survival were also modest with the majority of studies reporting a 10%–20% 6-month progression-free survival and 5- to 8-month overall survival. There have been several clinical trials evaluating the use of combination therapy for molecularly targeted treatments. In general, the outcomes for combination therapy tend to be superior to single-agent therapy, regardless of the specific agent studied.

Conclusions

Recurrent glioblastoma remains very difficult to treat, even with molecular targeted therapies and anticancer agents. The currently available targeted therapy regimens have poor to modest activity against recurrent glioblastoma. As newer agents are actively being developed, combination regimens have provided the most promising results for improving outcomes. Targeted therapies matched to molecular profiles of individual tumors are predicted to be a critical component necessary for improving efficacy in future trials.

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Stephen T. Magill, Marcel Brus-Ramer, Philip R. Weinstein, Cynthia T. Chin and Line Jacques

Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (nTOS) is caused by compression of the brachial plexus as it traverses from the thoracic outlet to the axilla. Diagnosing nTOS can be difficult because of overlap with other complex pain and entrapment syndromes. An nTOS diagnosis is made based on patient history, physical exam, electrodiagnostic studies, and, more recently, interpretation of MR neurograms with tractography. Advances in high-resolution MRI and tractography can confirm an nTOS diagnosis and identify the location of nerve compression, allowing tailored surgical decompression. In this report, the authors review the current diagnostic criteria, present an update on advances in MRI, and provide case examples demonstrating how MR neurography (MRN) can aid in diagnosing nTOS. The authors conclude that improved high-resolution MRN and tractography are valuable tools for identifying the source of nerve compression in patients with nTOS and can augment current diagnostic modalities for this syndrome.

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Andrew L. Ko, Alp Ozpinar, Jeffrey S. Raskin, Stephen T. Magill, Ahmed M. Raslan and Kim J. Burchiel

OBJECT

Lesioning of the dorsal root entry zone (DREZotomy) is an effective treatment for brachial plexus avulsion (BPA) pain. The role of preoperative assessment with MRI has been shown to be unreliable for determining affected levels; however, it may have a role in predicting pain outcomes. Here, DREZotomy outcomes are reviewed and preoperative MRI is examined as a possible prognostic factor.

METHODS

A retrospective review was performed of an institutional database of patients who had undergone brachial plexus DREZ procedures since 1995. Preoperative MRI was examined to assess damage to the DREZ or dorsal horn, as evidenced by avulsion of the DREZ or T2 hyperintensity within the spinal cord. Phone interviews were conducted to assess the long-term pain outcomes.

RESULTS

Between 1995 and 2012, 27 patients were found to have undergone cervical DREZ procedures for BPA. Of these, 15 had preoperative MR images of the cervical spine available for review. The outcomes were graded from 1 to 4 as poor (no significant relief), good (more than 50% pain relief), excellent (more than 75% pain relief), or pain free, respectively. Overall, DREZotomy was found to be a safe, efficacious, and durable procedure for relief of pain due to BPA. The initial success rate was 73%, which declined to 66% at a median follow-up time of 62.5 months. Damage to the DREZ or dorsal horn was significantly correlated with poorer outcomes (p = 0.02). The average outcomes in patients without MRI evidence of DREZ or dorsal horn damage was significantly higher than in patients with such damage (3.67 vs 1.75, t-test; p = 0.001). A longer duration of pain prior to operation was also a significant predictor of treatment success (p = 0.004).

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, the DREZotomy procedure has a 66% chance of achieving meaningful pain relief on long-term follow-up. Successful pain relief is associated with the lack of damage to the DREZ and dorsal horn on preoperative MRI.