Operative treatment of trigeminal neuralgia: review of current techniques

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Surgical approaches to pain management are performed when medication cannot control pain or patients cannot tolerate the adverse effects of the medication. Microvascular decompression (MVD) is generally performed when the patient is healthy and relatively young. Partial sensory rhizotomy is performed in addition to, or instead of MVD, in patients in whom significant compression of the trigeminal sensory root does not exist or in whom MVD is technically not feasible. Three percutaneous ablative procedures and gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) are also performed when MVD cannot be performed. The result of MVD is superior to that of the 3 ablative procedures. GKS is inferior to the 3 ablative procedures in terms of initial pain relief and recurrence, but superior in terms of complications. Peripheral procedures are usually performed in patients not suitable for or not wishing to have other procedures. However, no strict rules exist and each patient should be evaluated individually.

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