BACKGROUND: Radiofrequency lesioning (RFL) is used to surgically manage trigeminal neuralgia (TN) secondary to multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the long-term outcome of RFL has not been established. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the long-term clinical outcome of RFL in MS-related TN (symptomatic trigeminal neuralgia [STN]). METHODS: During a 23-yr period, institutional data were available for 51 patients with STN who underwent at least one RFL procedure to treat facial pain. Patient outcome was evaluated at a mean follow-up of 69 mo (95% confidence interval; range 52-86 mo). No pain with no medication (NPNM) was the primary long-term outcome measure. RESULTS: After an initial RFL procedure, immediate pain relief was achieved in 50 patients (98%), and NPNM as assessed at 1, 3, and 6 yr was 86%, 52%, and 22%, respectively. At the last clinical visit after an initial RFL, 23 patients (45%) with pain recurrence underwent repeat RFL; NPNM at 1, 3, and 6 yr after a repeat RFL was 85%, 58%, and 32%, respectively. There was no difference in pain outcome after an initial and repeat RFL ( P = .77). Ten patients with pain recurrence underwent additional RFL procedures. Two patients developed mastication muscle weakness, one patient experienced a corneal abrasion, which resolved with early ophthalmological interventions, and one patient experienced bothersome numbness. CONCLUSION: RFL achieves NPNM status in STN and can be repeated with similar efficacy.
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