Predictive Model for Pain Recurrence After Posterior Fossa Surgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia | Neurology | JAMA Neurology | JAMA Network
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Original Contribution
August 2002

Predictive Model for Pain Recurrence After Posterior Fossa Surgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurological Surgery, The University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine.

Arch Neurol. 2002;59(8):1297-1302. doi:10.1001/archneur.59.8.1297

Background  Surgical exploration of the posterior fossa is the definitive treatment for trigeminal neuralgia refractory to medication, but predictors of its success in effecting long-term pain relief have not been established.

Objective  To develop a model that allows stratification of patients' risk of postoperative recurrence of pain based on pretreatment factors.

Methods  We reviewed the records of 420 consecutive patients who underwent posterior fossa exploration by one of us (C.B.W.) for the treatment of idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia. The primary outcome measure was recurrence of trigeminal pain. The predictive value of preoperative and intraoperative factors was evaluated. Multivariate analysis revealed the statistically significant predictors of pain recurrence, permitting creation of a risk model for recurrence of pain.

Results  After surgery, trigeminal pain had lessened in 98% of patients and completely resolved in 87%. There were no perioperative deaths. After a mean follow-up of 56.3 months, 93% of patients reported significant pain improvement and 72% continued to have no pain. The estimated likelihood of pain recurrence at 8 years was 34%. Significant predictors of eventual recurrence of pain were age younger than 53 years at the time of surgery, symptoms lasting longer than 11½ years, female sex, and pain on the left side in men. These factors were weighted and incorporated into a risk model that revealed 4-year pain-free survival of 89% ± 4% for the low-risk group, 80% ± 4% for the moderate-risk group, and 58% ± 6% for the high-risk group (data are mean ± SD).

Conclusions  We developed a predictive model that stratifies the risk for eventual recurrence of pain after posterior fossa exploration for trigeminal neuralgia. This information may be useful in counseling patients regarding treatment.