A new study in the September issue of Neurosurgery reports that percutaneous stereotaxic rhizotomy (PSR) provides good pain relief at much lower cost than other types of surgical treatments for trigeminal neuralgia, yet is the least utilized treatment modality. The authors emphasize that the preliminary findings need further verification, but are nonetheless consistent with the only two previous studies evaluating the cost-effectiveness of surgical options for trigeminal neuralgia.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a relatively common chronic pain condition, especially among older adults. It is associated with a typical pattern of painful facial tics, thought to be caused by blood vessels placing pressure on the trigeminal nerve in the face. When this pain can't be adequately controlled by medications, various surgical procedures may be recommended. The study compared costs and outcomes of 3 different surgical options among 94 patients and concluded that PSR was by far the most cost-effective. Read a news story about the study here.