Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS)-associated trigeminal neuralgia (TN) have higher recurrence and retreatment rates than non-MS patients. The optimal management strategy and role for microsurgical rhizotomy (MSR) for MS-TN remains to be determined. The aim of this study was to report time to treatment failure (TTF) and pain scores following MSR compared to percutaneous and Gamma Knife procedures.


Time to treatment failure was analyzed after MSR (n = 14) versus prior procedures (n = 53) among MS-TN patients. Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank test were utilized to compare TTF after MSR versus prior procedures using the same cohort of patients as their own control group. Subsequent analysis compared TTF after MSR to TTF after 93 other procedures among a second cohort of 18 MS-TN patients not undergoing MSR. BNI pain scores were compared between MSR and other procedures among the MS-TN cohort using a chi-square test.


TTF was significantly longer after MSR than after other procedures in the MSR cohort (median TTF 79 vs 10 months, respectively, p < 0.0001). Similarly, TTF was longer after MSR than after prior procedures in the non-MSR cohort (median TTF 79 vs 13 months, respectively, p < 0.001). MSR resulted in a higher proportion of excellent pain scores when compared to other procedures in the non-MSR cohort (77% vs 29%, p < 0.001). Probability of treatment survival was higher after MSR than after other procedures at all time points (3, 6, 12, 24, 36, and 48 months). There were no deaths or major complications after MSR.


TTF was significantly longer following MSR compared to prior procedures in MS-TN patients. Additionally, a higher proportion of patients achieved excellent BNI pain scores after MSR.


BNI = Barrow Neurological Institute; Dandy procedure; GKS = Gamma Knife surgery; MS = multiple sclerosis; MS-TN = MS-associated TN; MSR = microsurgical rhizotomy; MVD = microvascular decompression; TN = trigeminal neuralgia; TREZ = trigeminal root entry zone; TTF = time to treatment failure; microsurgical rhizotomy; multiple sclerosis; pain; partial sensory rhizotomy; refractory trigeminal neuralgia; trigeminal neuralgia

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