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Long-Term Results after Glycerol Rhizotomy for Multiple Sclerosis-Related Trigeminal Neuralgia

     Douglas Kondziolka, L. Dade Lunsford and David J. Bissonette

Abstract:   Percutaneous retrogasserian glycerol rhizotomy (PRGR) was used during an 11-year interval in 53 patients with typical trigeminal neuralgia associated with multiple sclerosis. All patients had failed extensive medical trials prior to PRGR. Long-term (median follow-up, 36 months) complete pain relief (no further medication) was achieved in 29 (59%) of 49 evaluable patients. Eight patients (16%) had satisfactory pain control but required occasional medication. Twelve patients (25%) had initial unsatisfactory results with inadequate pain relief; nine underwent alternative surgical procedures. Sixteen patients (30%) subsequently required repeat glycerol rhizotomies to reachieve pain control. Twenty-seven patients (60% of 45 patients evaluated for this finding) retained normal trigeminal sensation after injection. Major trigeminal sensory loss developed in a single patient who had four glycerol rhizotomies over a 25-month interval. No patient developed deafferentation pain. We believe that PRGR is a low-morbidity, effective, and repeatable surgical procedure for the management of trigeminal neuralgia in the setting of multiple sclerosis.

Can. J. Neurol. Sci. 1994; 21: 137-140


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