OBJECTIVES: To elucidate the relationship between the extent of pain and neurovascular compression (NVC) volume, measured by magnetic resonance (MR) cisternography, in patients with trigeminal neuralgia. In addition, we aimed to evaluate the relationship between NVC volume and the efficacy of carbamazepine administration in patients with trigeminal neuralgia. METHODS: MR cisternography was performed on 214 patients with clinical signs and symptoms that suggested trigeminal neuralgia retrospectively. The extent of their pain was evaluated using visual analog scales. Next, only carbamazepine was administered as the initial treatment. For the patients with NVC detectable on MR cisternography, the relationship between the extent or nature of the pain and the neurovascular volume was analyzed. In addition, the correlation between the efficacy of carbamazepine treatment and the NVC volume was evaluated retrospectively. RESULTS: Of the 214 patients evaluated, 144 were deemed to have NVC. In these 144 patients, a significant difference was found between the NVC volume and the curative effects of 100mg/d carbamazepine. However, no significant correlation was found between the extents of pain by visual analog score or between the daily dosage of carbamazepine and the NVC volume measured by MR cisternography. CONCLUSIONS: Three-dimensional MR cisternography is very useful for detecting the site of NVC in patients with trigeminal neuralgia. NVC measured by this technique may indicate the prognosis after initial treatment. The present results suggest that the evaluation of NVC volume by MR cisternography would be useful in choosing the initial treatment for patients with trigeminal neuralgia.
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