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Papers of the Week

2022 Sep

Indian J Radiol Imaging



Correlation of Trigeminopontine Angle with Severity of Trigeminal Neuralgia due to Neurovascular Conflict over Medial Aspect of Nerve: Can We Prognosticate the Reduction in Pain in Patients on Medical Management?


 Neurovascular conflicts (NVCs) are one of the major causative factors in patients presenting with trigeminal neuralgia (TN). We found a wide range of variation in degrees of acute angle formed between medial border of trigeminal nerve and anterior border of pons in patients with TN, i.e., medial trigeminopontine angle (mTPA), and tried to find its correlation with pain severity due to NVC over the medial aspect of nerve (mNVC).  To correlate mTPA measurement with severity of TN due to mNVC. To calculate the reduction in pain in patients kept on medical management and its correlation with mTPA.  This was a retrospective observational study conducted between May 2018 and October 2020. A total of 41 patients presenting with TN and showing corresponding NVC were included in the study. Out of the total cases with NVC, 30 cases showed NVC over the medial surface of the nerve. All the patients were evaluated on MAGNETOM Skyra 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI; Siemens). Using the two-line Cobb angle method, the trigeminopontine angle was calculated. Pretreatment pain intensity and posttreatment pain relief of each patients were assessed by using the numeric rating scale (NRS) with numbers from 0 to 10 ("no pain" to "worst pain imaginable"). Relevant clinical details regarding pre- and posttreatment pain score, after a standard treatment plan of 600 mg of oxcarbazepine for 2 weeks, were collected.  Patients showing response of more than or equal to 50% (≥50%) are considered as "good response" and those with response of less than 50% (<50%) are considered as "poor response." In our study with trigeminopontine angle threshold of 45 degrees, 7 out of 8 (87.5%) patients with >45° mTPA showed poor response and 15/22 (68.2%) patients with ≤45° showed good response to medical management for TN with statistical significance difference with a -valve of 0.007.  We found a negative correlation between the mTPA and percentage pain relief in patients kept on medical management and realized that mTPA measurement could become an important tool for prognosticating pain relief for patients of TN on medical therapy; however, more evidence and multicentric studies are required for the same.