Year : 2021  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 109-115

Retrogasserian radiofrequency thermocoagulation: A repeatable treatment in trigeminal neuralgia unresponsive to drug therapy

Pain Unit, Clinical Scientific Institutes Maugeri, Pavia, Italy

Correspondence Address:
M Marchesini
Cascina S Sofia, Pavia - 27020
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.sja_972_20

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Background: Trigeminal neuralgia present an incidence rates ranging between 5.9 and 12.6 per 100.000 persons; although not frequent, it is a pathology often characterized by intense pain, an extremely significant reduction in quality of life and medical therapy is not always effective or tolerated. In these cases, the patient can undergo interventional treatments including radiofrequency thermocoagulation. There are still doubts regarding the effectiveness over time, the injury parameters and the repeatability of the procedure. Materials and Methods: We analyze patients with trigeminal pain undergo retrogasserian radiofrequency in a single center over a period of 8 years. The procedure was performed with the following parameters: Lesion time 60 sec, lesion temperature 70°C for first thermolesion 72°C for subsequent thermolesions. Duration of benefit, number of repetitions of the maneuver, and incidence of adverse events were assessed. Results: Totally, 122 patients with essential trigeminal neuralgia and 20 patients with trigeminal neuralgia secondary to multiple sclerosis were analyzed; almost all patients (96.5%) showed a significant reduction in pain after one or more procedures over time; 96.5 of the patients showed excellent pain relief after 1 (40%) or more procedures (60%). The average time between one procedure and the next was 26 months. Conclusion: The use of time and temperature parameters chosen shows excellent efficacy, in line with the literature, with very low incidence of adverse events. The pain-free time between one procedure and the next does not seem to be a significant prognostic criterion which may or may not indicate the repetition of the procedure.

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