Utility of magnetic resonance cisternography using three-dimensional fast asymmetric spin-echo sequences with multiplanar reconstruction: the evaluation of sites of neurovascular compression of the trigeminal nerve

Tatsurou Tanaka, Yasuhiro Morimoto, Shunji Shiiba, Eiji Sakamoto, Shinji Kito, Yuka Matsufuji, Osamu Nakanishi, Takeshi Ohba
Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontics 2005, 100 (2): 215-25

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the utility of magnetic resonance (MR) cisternography using 3-dimensional (3D) fast asymmetric spin-echo (FASE) sequences with multiplanar reconstruction (MPR) for detection of the sites of neurovascular compression (NVC) in patients with trigeminal neuralgia.

STUDY DESIGN: Both MR cisternography with 3D-FASE sequences and MR angiography (MRA) were performed on 150 patients with clinical signs and symptoms that suggested trigeminal neuralgia. Results from the original MR cisternography with 3D-FASE sequences, the original MRA, and 4 reformatted images were used for interpretation. Images with inversion between black and white were used from the MR cisternography with 3D-FASE sequences to evaluate NVC. A diagnosis of NVC was made from the presence of vascular contact with the trigeminal nerve at the root entry zone (REZ) and the nature of the involved vessels. For the patients with NVC detectable on 3D-FASE or MRA images, the relationship between the clinically manifested regions and the NVC sites was also evaluated.

RESULTS: Of the 150 patients evaluated, 89 were deemed to have NVC. Of these 89 patients, 3 underwent surgery that identified the artery that was involved with the trigeminal nerve. The correlation between the clinically manifested regions and the NVC sites was significantly detectable using both 3D-FASE images and MRA in 89 patients with detectable NVC. The correlation coefficient using 3D-FASE imaging was a little higher than that using MRA. Of the 61 patients deemed not to have NVC, 6 were found to have brain tumors that invaded the root entry zone of the trigeminal nerve. However, the remaining 55 patients had no identifiable cause for trigeminal neuralgia. NVC was found in the asymptomatic side in 27 (18%) of the 150 patients with trigeminal neuralgia using MR cisternography with 3D-FASE sequences.

CONCLUSIONS: The technique of MR cisternography using 3D-FASE sequences with MPR is more accurate and useful than MRA for detection of the site of NVC in patients with trigeminal neuralgia. Patients with trigeminal neuralgia should be further examined using MR imaging to rule out a brain tumor. Radiologists should understand that a few subjects with no symptoms could show NVC with MR cisternography.

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