Preoperative demonstration of neurovascular relationship in trigeminal neuralgia by using 3D FIESTA sequence

Magn Reson Imaging. 2012 Jun;30(5):666-71. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2011.12.022. Epub 2012 Mar 9.


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the value of high-resolution three-dimensional fast imaging employing steady-state acquisition (3D FIESTA) imaging in the visualization of neurovascular relationship in patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN).

Methods: Thirty-seven patients with unilateral typical TN underwent 3D FIESTA imaging. Neurovascular relationship at the trigeminal root entry zone was reviewed by an experienced neuroradiologist, who was blinded to the clinical details. The imaging results were compared with the operative findings in all patients.

Results: In 37 patients with TN, 3D FIESTA imaging identified surgically verified neurovascular contact in 35 of 36 symptomatic nerves. Based on surgical findings, the sensitivity and specificity of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging were 97.2% and 100%, respectively. Agreement between the position (medial, lateral, superior and inferior) of the compressing vessel relative to the trigeminal nerve identified by MR imaging and surgery was excellent (K=0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.56-1.00). A statistically significant difference was found between the site of neurovascular contact and the clinical symptom related to the trigeminal branch (Fisher's Exact Test, P<.001).

Conclusions: Use of 3D FIESTA sequence enables accurate visualization of neurovascular contact in patients with TN. Anatomic relationships defined by this method can be useful in surgical planning and predicting surgical findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / complications
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / pathology*
  • Preoperative Care
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Trigeminal Nerve / blood supply*
  • Trigeminal Nerve / pathology*
  • Trigeminal Nerve / surgery
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / complications
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / pathology*
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / surgery