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56. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e. V. (DGNC)
3èmes journées françaises de Neurochirurgie (SFNC)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e. V.
Société Française de Neurochirurgie

07. bis 11.05.2005, Strasbourg

Revision of ganglion Gasseri electrodes for recurrent trigeminal neuropathy: indications and operative management

Revision von Ganglion Gasseri Elektroden bei wiederkehrende trigeminaler Neuropathie: Indikationen und operatives Management

Meeting Abstract

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  • D. Foethke - Department of Neurosurgery, University of Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Lübeck
  • corresponding author H. Arnold - Department of Neurosurgery, University of Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Lübeck

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Société Française de Neurochirurgie. 56. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e.V. (DGNC), 3èmes journées françaises de Neurochirurgie (SFNC). Strasbourg, 07.-11.05.2005. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. DocP034

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: May 4, 2005

© 2005 Foethke et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




Trigeminal neuropathy after traumatic or surgical injury, destructive interventional procedures or infection in most cases is a pain syndrome due to partial deafferentation. While destructive procedures result in a worsening of symptoms, neuromodulation has been developed to reduce pain intensity by permanently implanted electrodes. A good effect of stimulation of the lateral thalamic area or the motor cortex was shown in small patient cohorts. Good to excellent analgetic effects have been achieved using percutaneous transforaminal electrode implantation into the gasserian ganglion or the retroganglionar roots. One of the problems associated with this approach is the high rate of dislocation (20-30%). In such cases the neurosurgeon has to decide whether the same approach or an alternative strategy of neuromodulation is to be chosen.


We report two cases of neuropathic facial pain, one posttraumatic with a 7-year history of transforaminal stimulation, another following surgical nerve trauma with a 3-month follow-up of successful transforaminal stimulation until dysfunction, loss of paraesthesia and increase of pain requiring opioid medication. Both patients reported a burning pain in the third trigeminal branch and increase on NRS from 4 to 10. In both cases the plain skull X-ray showed a correct electrode position. Because of the good clinical benefit prior to dysfunction, we decided to replace the stimulation electrode (Fa. Medtronic, DBS 3387) using the typical transforaminal approach.


In both cases a fracture of the electrode was found. The standardized approach and instrumentation for selective percutaneous thermolesions was implemented. The patients reported a good to excellent pain reduction and paraesthesia under improved telemetric stimulation parameters after successful replacement. One patient showed a good and stable analgetic effect, the other patient described a decrease of paraesthesia and analgesia after four weeks without demonstration of dislocation or lead fracture.


Reoperation for transforaminal electrode placement is likely to achieve successful neuromodulation. However, the revision of transforaminally-placed retro- or intraganglionar stimulation electrodes seems to have an inreased risk of dislocation or other dysfunction. In such cases we therefore consider early placement of electrodes through an open subtemporal extradural approach.