Possible role of an endovascular provocative test in the diagnosis of glossopharyngeal neuralgia as a vascular compression syndrome

T Matsushima, Y Goto, H Ishioka, F Mihara, M Fukui
Acta Neurochirurgica 1999, 141 (11): 1229-32
We utilized endovascular provocative techniques to identify the indications for microvascular decompression surgery in a serious case of glossopharyngeal neuralgia. This is the first reported case in which an endovascular provocative test was applied for diagnosis of glossopharyngeal neuralgia as a vascular compression syndrome. A 68-year-old woman presented with severe paroxysmal facial pain which could not be controlled by medical therapy. Partial effectiveness to carbamazepine led us to wonder whether or not the selection of microvascular decompression surgery would be appropriate. Pre-operative angiography was performed. During the examination a microcatheter was inserted into the right posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA), and an attack of typical glossopharyngeal neuralgia occurred. The patient thus underwent microvascular decompression surgery. The PICA was verified to compress the glossopharyngeal nerve and therefore was moved to induce decompression. The patient has since experienced no further pain for one year postoperatively. The diagnosis of glossopharyngeal neuralgia is sometimes complex and it is difficult to select the most appropriate surgical modality. In such cases this endovascular provocative technique may thus be useful for making a definitive decision or microvascular decompression surgery.

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