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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 May 2023 - 19 May 2023


Human Studies, Neurobiology

Orofacial/Head Pain

2023 Mar 23

Brain Sci




Outcome Comparison of Drug-Resistant Trigeminal Neuralgia Surgical Treatments-An Umbrella Review of Meta-Analyses and Systematic Reviews.


Rapisarda A, Battistelli M, Izzo A, D'Ercole M, D'Alessandris QG, Polli FM, Santi S, Martinelli R, Montano N


Medical treatment for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is not always a feasible option due to a lack of full response or adverse effects. Open surgery or percutaneous procedures are advocated in these cases. Several articles have compared the results among different techniques. Nevertheless, the findings of these studies are heterogeneous. Umbrella reviews are studies sitting at the peak of the evidence pyramid. With this umbrella review, we provided a systematic review of the outcomes of the surgical procedures used for TN treatment. Only systematic reviews and meta-analyses were included following the PRISMA guidelines. Ten articles were enrolled for qualitative and quantitative assessment. Level of evidence was quantified using a specific tool (AMSTAR-2). Results were heterogenous in terms of outcome and measurements. Microvascular decompression (MVD) appeared to be the most effective procedure both in the short-term (pain relief in 85-96.6% of cases) and long-term follow-up (pain relief in 64-79% of cases), although showed the highest rate of complications. The results of percutaneous techniques were similar but radiosurgery showed the highest variation in term of pain relief and a higher rate of delayed responses. The use of the AMSTAR-2 tool to quantify the evidence level scored three studies as critically low and seven studies as low-level, revealing a lack of good quality studies on this topic. Our umbrella review evidenced the need of well-designed comparative studies and the utilization of validated scales in order to provide more homogenous data for pooled-analyses and meta-analyses in the field of TN surgical treatment.