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Pain. 2013 Apr;154(4):617-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2013.01.008. Epub 2013 Jan 15.

Trigeminal neuralgia secondary to giant Virchow-Robin spaces: a case report with neuroimaging.

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Division of Neurosurgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Virchow-Robin spaces are pial-lined, interstitial, fluid-filled structures that accompany penetrating arteries and arterioles as they enter the cerebral substance. Occasionally they may enlarge and become giant Virchow-Robin spaces (GVRS) and produce mass effect. Various neurological symptoms have been described in association with GVRS, however, trigeminal neuralgia has not yet been reported in this context. We present a case of trigeminal neuralgia secondary to dorsal pontine giant Virchow-Robin spaces (GVRS) and highlight the diagnostic radiologic features. Routine 1.5 T MRI sequences were sufficient to diagnose the GVRS and a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) study revealed distortion of the intrinsic trigeminal pathway. This study highlights the utility of routine MRI to study the intrinsic anatomy of the trigeminal pathway in pathological conditions.

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