Microvascular decompression is a first-line neurosurgical approach for classical trigeminal neuralgia with neurovascular conflict, but can show clinical relapse despite proper decompression. Second-line destructive techniques like radiofrequency thermocoagulation have become reluctantly used due to their potential for irreversible side effects. Subcutaneous peripheral nerve field stimulation (sPNFS) is a minimally invasive neuromodulatory technique which has been shown to be effective for chronic localised pain conditions.
The most frequently used surgical management of trigeminal neuralgia is Microvascular decompression (MVD), followed closely by stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). Percutaneous stereotactic rhizotomy (PSR) , despite being the most cost-effective, is by far the least utilized treatment modality 1).
Teflon™ and Ivalon® are two materials used in MVD for TN. It is an effective treatment with long-term symptom relief and recurrence rates of 1-5% each year. Ivalon® has been used less than Teflon™ though is associated with similar success rates and similar complication rates 2)
Although microvascular decompression (MVD) is the most effective long-term operative treatment for TN, its use in older patient populations has been debated due to its invasive nature.
Compared with the standard microscope-assisted techniques, the 3D exoscopic endoscope-assisted MVD offers an improved visualisation without compromising the field of view within and outside the surgical field 3).
It has proven to be the most successful and durable surgical approach for trigeminal neuralgia (TN).
However, not all patients with TN manifest unequivocal neurovascular compression (NVC). Furthermore, over time patients with an initially successful MVD manifest a relentless rate of TN recurrence.
It does not achieve 100 % cure rate. Re-exploration of the posterior fossa may carry increased risk over first-time MVD and is not always successful, so other treatments are needed.