[Radiosurgery in trigeminal neuralgia: long-term results and influence of operative nuances].Neurochirurgie. 2009 Apr; 55(2):213-22.N
Stereotactic radiosurgery is an alternative to conventional surgery for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. To better define the safety of radiosurgery and optimal technical choices, we reviewed our patient records and the literature. A total of 334 patients presenting with trigeminal neuralgia were treated between December 1992 and September 2005. A minimum of 1 year of follow-up was available for 262 patients. The mean age was 68 years (range: 30-90); 128 patients were male and 134 female. A neurovascular conflict was clearly visualized on MRI in 167 patients. Twenty-one had a past history of multiple sclerosis and 110 had already received conventional surgical treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. The intervention consisted of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) to the retrogasserian cisternal portion of the Vth cranial nerve. The median maximal dose used was 85Gy (range: 70-90). Actuarial curves show a plateau at 5 years for both the risk of hypoesthesia and recurrence. At 5 years, 58% of the patients remain pain-free and 83% have no trigeminal nerve disturbance. The median delay for pain cessation was 15 days. The initial pain-relief rate was 89%. None of the complications reported for the other techniques were observed. Patient selection (typical versus atypical, age, past surgery, multiple sclerosis) and details of operative technique (maximum dose, volume of nerve treated, target location, etc.) had a major influence on the probability of pain relief and toxicity risk. The details of operative technique are turning out to have a major influence on the clinical results. In our experience, high-dose (80-90Gy) retrogasserian (7-8mm from the brainstem) GKS provides the patient with a better chance of long-term pain relief and a lower risk of trigeminal nerve functional disturbance. GKS applied to the cisternal anterior trigeminal nerve using high doses provided safe and effective treatment for trigeminal neuralgia over the long term.