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J Craniofac Surg. 2018 Nov 30. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000004999. [Epub ahead of print]

Study on the Therapeutic Effects of Trigeminal Neuralgia With Microvascular Decompression and Stereotactic Gamma Knife Surgery in the Elderly.

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Department of Neurosurgery, The Second Hospital of Shandong University, Jinan, China.



The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of microvascular decompression (MVD) and stereotactic gamma knife surgery (GKS) in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) in the elderly.


Retrospective analysis of 137 elderly cases with TN underwent MVD, partial sensory rhizotomy (PR) treatment from August 2007 to March 2017 and 56 cases underwent GKS treatment from May 2014 to February 2017 was made, compared the efficacy of MVD and GKS in different age groups.


In 125 patients of MVD alone, the responsible vessels included 60 cases of superior cerebellar artery, 55 cases of anterior inferior cerebellar artery, 4 cases of venous vascular compression, 13 cases of mixed arteriovenous compression and 3 cases of vertebral artery, and 2 cases of no responsible vessel. Operation methods: MVD 125 cases, MVD + PR 10 cases, PR 1 cases, simple exploration in 1 case. Results of MVD surgery: Among 125 patients of MVD alone, 95 cases were cured, 15 cases improved, and 15 cases were ineffective. Among 10 cases of MVD + PR, cured in 9 cases and improved in 1 case. PR and simple exploration in 2 cases got pain disappeared. Postoperative complications of MVD: No deaths, CSF leakage in 2 cases, intracranial infection in 3 cases, ipsilateral hearing loss in 1 case, and ipsilateral facial paralysis in 1 case, delayed intracranial hematoma in 2 cases. After GKS treatment, the shortest onset time was from 9 days up to 6 months, an average of 2.2 months. Among 56 patients, 30 cases were cured, accounting for 53.6%, 20 cases improved, accounting for 35.7%, 6 cases were ineffective, accounting for 10.7%. Postoperative complications were facial numbness and dysesthesia, 7 cases, the incidence was 12.5%. In the group of 60 to 70 years old and the group of 70 to 80 years old, the treatment effect of MVD was better than that of GKS (χ test, P < 0.05); there was no significant difference between MVD and GKS in >80 years old group (χ test, P > 0.05). There was no significant difference in the therapeutic effect of TN underwent GKS among all age groups (χ test, P > 0.05).


Microvascular decompression should be performed more prudently in elderly patients (>80 years old), and the indications for PR should be relatively relaxed. MVD + PR could improve the curative effect in patients with trigeminal neuralgia >80 years. Gamma knife treatment of trigeminal neuralgia had high safety, less complications, and positive curative effect, especially suitable for patients >80 years.

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