FOR THE STUDY of pathogenesis and treatment of recurrent trigeminal neuralgia, we performed 31 repeat operations from among 400 patients with trigeminal neuralgia in the past 10 years. Initially, of these 400 patients, 376 underwent microvascular decompression only, and 24 underwent partial sensory rhizotomy with or without microvascular decompression. Fifty-three patients (14%) had recurrences after microvascular decompression, of which 31 patients underwent repeat operations. Among the repeat operations, there was negative exploration in 16 patients (52%), arterial loop compression in 7 (22%), venous compression in 4 (13%), and Teflon compression or adhesion in 4 (13%). Twenty-one patients had early recurrences within 1 year, and 10 patients had late recurrences. Negative exploration and arterial compression were more likely in early recurrence (P = 0.01). Continuing demyelination might occur in patients with negative exploration, even when adequate decompression had been initially performed. Seventy percent of the patients had no recurring pain by way of partial sensory rhizotomy for negative explorations, redecompression of arterial loops, division of offending veins, or lysis and reposition of Teflon. About half of the patients had positive findings that were amenable without rhizotomy in the repeat operations. A repeat operation for failed microvascular decompression is a good choice if the condition of the patient is tolerant.
Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China
Reprint requests: Der-Yang Cho, M.D., Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, 160, Section 3, Taichung Harbor Road, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China.
Received, October 13, 1993. Accepted, May 4, 1994.