This study was designed to compare the efficacy of micro-vascular decompression (MVD) and Gamma knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for elderly idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia patients by analyzing the clinical outcome.
In the past 10 years, 27 elderly patients were treated with MVD while 18 patients were treated with GKRS (>65-years-old). We reviewed their clinical characteristics and clinical courses after treatment as well as the treatment outcomes. For patients who were treated with MVD, additional treatment methods such as rhizotomy were combined in some areas. In GKRS, we radiated the root entry zone (REZ) with the mean maximum dose of 77.8 (70-84.3) Gy and one 4 mm collimator.
The mean age was 68.1 years for MVD, and 71.1 years for GKS group. The average time interval between first presenting symptom and surgery was 84.1 (1-361) months, and 51.4 (1-120) months, respectively. The mean follow-up period after the surgery was 35.9 months for MVD, and 33.1 months for GKRS. According to Pain Intensity Scale, MVD group showed better prognosis with 17 (63%) cases in grade I-II versus 10 (55.6%) cases in GKRS group after the treatment. The pain recurrence rate during follow up did not show much difference with 3 (11.1%) in MVD, and 2 (11.1%) in GKRS. After the treatment, 2 cases of facial numbness, and 1 case each of herpes zoster, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage, hearing disturbance, and subdural hematoma occurred in MVD Group. In GKRS, there was 1 (5.6%) case of dysesthesia but was not permanent. Three cases were retreated by GKRS but the prognosis was not as good as when the surgery was used as primary treatment, with 1 case of grade I-II, and 1 case of recurrence. The maximal relieve of pain was seen just after surgery in MVD group, and 1 year after treatment in GKRS group.
For trigeminal neuralgia patients with advanced age, MVD showed advantages in immediately relieving the pain. However, in overall, GKRS was preferable, despite the delayed pain relief, due to the lower rate of surgical complications that arise owing to the old age.