Is preoperative high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging accurate in predicting neurovascular compression in patients with trigeminal neuralgia? A single-blind study

Neurosurg Rev. 2005 Apr;28(2):131-6. doi: 10.1007/s10143-004-0372-3. Epub 2005 Jan 5.


High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (HR-MRI) using three-dimensional fast imaging employing steady-state acquisition (3D-FIESTA) and double-dose contrast-enhanced three-dimensional fast spoiled gradient echo (3D-FSPGR) sequences is considered to be a useful tool in detecting neurovascular compression in patients with trigeminal neuralgia. The purpose of this study was to analyze the accuracy and preoperative diagnostic value of these high-resolution imaging techniques in patients with trigeminal neuralgia, in a single-blind study. The preoperative MRI images of 21 consecutive patients were matched to one neuroradiologist, who was blind as to which side exhibited the symptoms. The images and post-processing multiplanar reconstructions were compared with the video-documented operative observations. HR-MRI using only 3D-FSPGR sequences demonstrated neurovascular compression in accordance with the intraoperative finding in 11 patients (52.4%). In the subgroup where, additionally, 3D-FIESTA sequences were available, neurovascular compression was in accordance with the intraoperative finding in 71.4% (n = 7). High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging using double-dose contrast-enhanced 3D-FSPGR and 3D-FIESTA sequences is currently not sufficient enough to make an accurate prediction of neurovascular compression in a single-blind setting. These 3D imaging techniques currently provide only limited information, and one should consider their use carefully when identifying patients with trigeminal neuralgia from operation until image quality is improved by superior image resolution that can accurately discriminate vessels surrounding the trigeminal root entry zone.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / complications
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / pathology*
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / surgery
  • Cerebellum / blood supply*
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Cerebellum / surgery
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Echo-Planar Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Preoperative Care
  • Radiculopathy / complications
  • Radiculopathy / pathology*
  • Radiculopathy / surgery
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / complications
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / pathology*
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / surgery