[Identification of offending vessels in trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm using SPGR-MRI and 3D-TOF-MRA]

Y Niwa, M Shiotani, H Karasawa, K Ohseto, Y Naganuma
Rinshō Shinkeigaku, Clinical Neurology 1996, 36 (4): 544-50
We investigated 100 consecutive patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and 53 patients with hemifacial spasm (HFS) concerning the anatomical relationship between the root entry (exit) zone (REZ) of cranial nerve and the offending artery, using spoiled GRASS MRI (SPGR-MRI) and three dimensional-time of fly-MRA (MRA). In 67 of 100 (67%) patiets with TN, this new radiological method, SPGR-MRI and MRA demonstrated the relationship between the fifth cranial nerve root and offending artery causing neurovascular compression (NVC), and in 46 of 53 (87%) with HFS, demonstrated the similar relationship between seventh and eighth nerve complex and offending artery. Microvascular decompression (MVD) was performed in 10 with HFS, and NVC of the REZ of the facial nerve caused by the offending artery was exactly predicted by SPGR-MRI and MRA in 9 (90%). The combination of SPGR-MRI and MRA is very useful for demonstrating NVC as the cause of TN and HFS. On the other hand, we investigated asymptomatic 206 trigeminal and 253 facial nerves about the relationship between their REZ and the surrounding structures using the similar method. The contact of REZ of cranial nerve with surrounding artery is demonstrated in 31.6% of trigeminal nerves and in 22.5% of facial nerves. These results indicate that the contact of REZ of cranial nerve with surrounding artery is not rare in healthy subjects, though causing TN and HFS in particular patients. In this context, we discussed the difference between the contact which is asymptomatic and the compression which is symptomatic.

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