Abstract : BACKGROUND:
Microvascular decompression (MVD) is the reference technique for pharmacoresistant trigeminal neuralgia (TN).
To establish whether the safety and efficacy of Gamma Knife surgery for recurrent TN are influenced by prior MVD.
Between July 1992 and November 2010, 54 of 737 patients (45 of 497 with >1 year of follow-up) had a history of MVD (approximately half also with previous ablative procedure) and were operated on with Gamma Knife surgery for TN in the Timone University Hospital. A single 4-mm isocenter was positioned in the cisternal portion of the trigeminal nerve at a median distance of 7.6 mm (range, 3.9-11.9 mm) anterior to the emergence of the nerve. A median maximum dose of 85 Gy (range, 70-90 Gy) was delivered.
The median follow-up time was 39.5 months (range, 14.1-144.6 months). Thirty-five patients (77.8%) were initially pain free in a median time of 14 days (range, 0-180 days), much lower compared with our global population of classic TN (P = .01). Their actuarial probabilities of remaining pain-free without medication at 3, 5, 7, and 10 years were 66.5%, 59.1%, 59.1%, and 44.3%. The hypoesthesia actuarial rate at 1 year was 9.1% and remained stable until 12 years (median, 8 months).
Patients with previous MVD showed a significantly lower probability of initial pain cessation compared with our global population with classic TN (P = .01). The toxicity was low (only 9.1% hypoesthesia); furthermore, no patient reported bothersome hypoesthesia. However, the probability of maintaining pain relief without medication was 44.3% at 10 years, similar to our global series of classic TN (P = .85).