Neuralgia of the glossopharyngeal and vagal nerves: long-term outcome following surgical treatment and literature review

Sri R Kandan, Sadaquate Khan, Deva S Jeyaretna, Samden Lhatoo, Nikunj K Patel, Hugh B Coakham
British Journal of Neurosurgery 2010, 24 (4): 441-6
This study describes our experience in the surgical treatment of neuralgia of the glossopharyngeal and vagal nerves. Over the last 19 years, 21 patients underwent surgery. Their case notes were reviewed to obtain demographic information, clinical presentation, surgical findings and early results. All patients were then contacted by telephone for long-term results and complications. Independent analysis of results was carried out by a Neurology team. Ten patients had microvascular decompression (MVD). Four patients had MVD and nerve section. In the remaining seven patients, the glossopharyngeal and first two rootlets of the vagal nerve were sectioned. Nineteen (90%) of 21 patients experienced complete relief of pain immediately after surgery. The remaining patients reported an improvement in their symptoms. There were no mortalities. Four patients experienced short-term complications, which resolved. Two patients were left with a persistent hoarse voice. At follow-up (mean duration of 4 years), there was no recurrence in symptoms. In our experience, surgery is safe and effective for the treatment of vago-glossopharyngeal neuralgia.

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