Because it is traditionally difficult and time-consuming to identify the foramen ovale (FO) with fluoroscopy, we recently developed the H-figure method to acquire fluoroscopic view of FO with shorter procedure time and less radiation. However, the impact of such an H-figure approach on the clinical outcomes of trigeminal ganglion radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFT) in treating idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia (ITN) remains unclear.
In a 12-month follow-up retrospective cohort study, patients with ITN had fluoroscopy-guided RFT of trigeminal ganglion via either classic approach (n = 100) or H-figure approach (n = 136) to identify FO. Data of continuous variables were analyzed with a Shapiro-Wilk test for normality and subsequently with a Mann-Whitney test, and the binary data were analyzed with a χ2 test. The primary outcome was the facial pain measured by a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) 1 year after the treatment. The secondary outcomes included the quality of the fluoroscopic FO views, the threshold voltage to provoke paresthesia, the procedure time, the number of fluoroscopic images, and the facial numbness VAS.
Compared with the classic approach group, the H-figure approach group was associated with better long-term pain relief after the procedure, with significantly fewer patients had pain 3 months (6.6% vs 17.0%, P = .012) and 12 months (21.3% vs 38.0%, P = .005) after the procedure, and among patients who had pain after the procedure, patients in the H-figure group had significantly less pain 6 months after the procedure (VAS median [interquartile range (IQR)]: 3 [2–6] vs 6 [4–7], P < .001). Moreover, compared to the classic approach, the H-figure approach provided better fluoroscopic view of FO, lower threshold voltage to elicit paresthesia (median [IQR]: 0.2 [0.2–0.3] vs 0.4 [0.4–0.5] V, P < .0001), with shorter procedure time (median [IQR]: 7.5 [6.0–9.0] vs 14.0 [10.0–18.0] min, P < .0001), and required fewer fluoroscopic images (median [IQR]: 4.0 [3.0–5.0] vs 8.0 [6.0–10.0], P < .0001).
RFT of the trigeminal ganglion using the H-figure approach is associated with superior longer term clinical pain relief than the classic approach in treating ITN.