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Radiofrequency thermoablation of the peripheral branches of trigeminal nerve versus the Gasserian ganglion for treating idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia: A systematic review and meta-analysis

      Highlights

      • RFT of the peripheral nerves and the Gasserian ganglion both will have satisfactory pain relive.
      • Peripheral nerve ablation was associated with higher recurrent rate.
      • RFT of the Gasserian ganglion was associated with more complication.

      Abstract

      Background

      Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by pain at the distribution of one or more of the trigeminal nerve branches and is usually treated with anti-epileptic medication. When first line treatment fails, patients receive other treatment modalities including radiofrequency thermoablation (RFT) of the Gasserian ganglion and peripheral branches of the trigeminal nerve. The aim of this study is to compare RFT of the Gasserian ganglion and peripheral branches of trigeminal nerve in terms of efficacy and rate of complications.

      Methods

      This was a systematic review and meta-analysis that searched Medline, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Embase using Medical Subject Headings and the references of the enrolled studies with no restriction on date. We included only RCTs that compared the RFT of the Gasserian ganglion and peripheral branches of trigeminal nerve with one of the following outcomes: pain scales, immediate effective rate, recurrence rate, and complications.

      Results

      Five articles were eligible for our review and showed that there was no difference between RFT of the peripheral nerves and the Gasserian ganglion in terms of pain scores. There was a non-significant trend for RFT of the peripheral nerve to have higher immediate effect rates and higher recurrence rates. RFT of the Gasserian ganglion group was associated with masticatory weakness, while the other group was associated with facial swelling and numbness of V2.

      Conclusion

      RFT of the peripheral branches is a safe and effective method to treat idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia but leads to a higher recurrence rate when compared with RFT of the Gasserian ganglion.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      TN (Trigeminal neuralgia), RFT (Radiofrequency thermoablation), MVD (Microvascular decompression), PRF (Peripheral nerves radiofrequency thermoablation), GPF (Gasserian ganglion radiofrequency thermoablation)
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