2016 Volume 56 Issue 5 Pages 257-263
Percutaneous treatments for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) including glycerol rhizotomy (GR), radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RT), and balloon compression (BC) are effective for patients with medical comorbidities and risk factors of microvascular decompression (MVD). These procedures are usually performed under fluoroscopy. Surgeons advance the needle to the trigeminal plexus through the foramen ovale while observing landmarks of fluoroscopic images; however, it is sometimes difficult to appropriately place the needle tip in Meckel’s cave. We present the technical details of percutaneous GR using a single-plane, flat panel detector angiography system to check the needle positioning. When the needle tip may be located near the trigeminal cistern, three-dimensional (3-D) bone images are taken with cone-beam computed tomography (CT). These images clearly show the position of the needle tip in Meckel’s cave. If it is difficult to place it through the foramen ovale, surgeons perform cone beam CT to observe the actual position of the needle tip at the skull base. After confirming the positional relation between the needle tip and foramen ovale, surgeons can advance it in the precise direction. In 10 procedures, we could place the nerve-block needle in about 14.5 minutes on average without complications. We think that our method is simple and convenient for percutaneous treatments for TN, and it may be helpful for surgeons to perform such treatments.