[A case of combined glossopharyngeal and trigeminal neuralgia]

Masahito Katoh, Toshimitsu Aida, Takuya Moriwaki, Masami Yoshino, Takeshi Aoki, Takeo Abumiya, Hiroyuki Imamura, Akihiko Ogata
No Shinkei Geka. Neurological Surgery 2012, 40 (6): 533-7
It is well-known that idiopathic neuralgias of the trigeminal and glossopharyngeal nerves are caused by vascular compression at the root entry zone of the cranial nerves. Because they are functional diseases, initial treatment is medical, especially with carbamazepine. However, if medical therapy fails to adequately manage the pain, microvascular decompression (MVD) is prescribed. Glossopharyngeal neuralgia is rare, and combined trigeminal and glossopharyngeal neuralgia is an extremely rare disorder. A 70-year-old woman presented herself to Hokkaido Neurosurgical Memorial Hospital because of paroxysms of lancinating pain in her left pharynx and another lancinating pain in her left cheek. Carbamazepine, which was prescribed at another hospital, favorably relieved the pain; however, drug eruption compelled her to discontinue the medication. The multi-volume method revealed that a root entry zone of the left glossopharyngeal nerve was compressed by the left posterior inferior cerebellar artery, and the left trigeminal artery was compressed by the left superior cerebellar artery. MVD for both nerves was performed employing a left lateral suboccipital craniotomy. She experienced complete relief of pain immediately after MVD. Combined trigeminal and glossopharyngeal neuralgia is extremely rare, but some groups noted a relatively high incidence of concurrent trigeminal neuralgia in patients with glossopharyngeal neuralgia up until the 1970's. Glossopharyngeal neuralgia includes pain near the gonion; therefore, there is an overlap of symptoms between glossopharyngeal and trigeminal neuralgias. By virtue of recent progress in imaging technology, minute preoperative evaluations of microvascular compression are possible. Until the 1970's, there might have been some misunderstanding regarding the overlap of symptoms because of lack of the concept of microvascular compression as a cause of neuralgia and rudimentary imaging technology. Minute evaluations of both symptoms and imaging are very important.

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