BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Thin-section MR imaging through the posterior fossa is frequently used for trigeminal neuralgia. Typical heavily T2-weighted imaging methods yield high anatomic detail and contrast between CSF and neurovascular structures, but poor contrast between vessels and nerves. We hypothesized that the addition of gadolinium-based contrast material to 3D-constructive interference in steady-state imaging would improve the characterization of trigeminal compression. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Retrospective review of high-resolution MRIs was performed in patients without prior microvascular decompression. 3D-CISS imaging without contrast and with contrast for 81 patients with trigeminal neuralgia and 15 controls was intermixed and independently reviewed in a blinded fashion. Cisternal segments of both trigeminal nerves were assessed for the grade of neurovascular conflict, cross-sectional area, and degree of flattening. Data were correlated with symptom side and pain relief after microvascular decompression using the Fisher exact test, receiver operating curve analysis, and a paired t test. RESULTS: Contrast-enhanced CISS more than doubled the prevalence of the highest grade of neurovascular conflict (14.8% versus 33.3%, P .001) and yielded significantly lower cross-sectional area (P 8.6 106) and greater degree of flattening (P .02) for advanced-grade neurovascular conflict on the symptoms side compared with non-contrast-enhanced CISS. Patients with complete pain relief after microvascular decompression had significantly lower cross-sectional area on contrast-enhanced CISS compared with non-contrast-enhanced CISS on preoperative imaging (P 2.0 107). Performance based on receiver operating curve analysis was significantly improved for contrast-enhanced CISS compared with non-contrast-enhanced CISS. CONCLUSIONS: The addition of contrast material to 3D-CISS imaging improves the performance of identifying unilateral neurovascular compression for symptomatic trigeminal neuralgia and predicting outcomes after microvascular decompression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology