Neurological Sciences

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 23–28 | Cite as

Advanced age as a contraindication to microvascular decompression for drug-resistant trigeminal neuralgia: evidence of prejudice?

  • Paolo Ferroli
  • Francesco Acerbi
  • Massimo Tomei
  • Giovanni Tringali
  • Angelo Franzini
  • Giovanni Broggi
Original Article


Due to the alleged higher risk of complications of microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia in elderly we evaluated its age-related results. A retrospective analysis of clinical outcome and complications was performed in 476 patients affected by drug-resistant trigeminal neuralgia who underwent microvascular decompression. As much as 117 patients older than 65 years (Group 1) and 359 under the age of 65 (Group 2) were followed-up for a period of 7–138 months. Pain relief was complete without medication in 84.5% in Group 1. Morbidity included slight trigeminal hypoesthesia in 5.8%; severe hearing loss in 0.9%; CSF leakage in 4.2%; transient diplopia in 3.4%; and posterior fossa subdural hematoma in 0.8% of these patients. Mortality was null. No statistically significant differences were observed between Groups 1 and 2. These findings seem to support the idea that microvascular decompression is not a dangerous surgical procedure in patients over the age of 65 years.


Trigeminal neuralgia Microvascular decompression Advanced age 



We thank Dr. Allen Fertziger for his help in revising the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo Ferroli
    • 1
  • Francesco Acerbi
    • 1
  • Massimo Tomei
    • 1
  • Giovanni Tringali
    • 1
  • Angelo Franzini
    • 1
  • Giovanni Broggi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryFondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo BestaMilanItaly

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