Free Editor Choice: Surgical Management of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Background: Trigeminal neuralgia is a relatively common neurosurgical pathology with multiple management options. Microvascular decompression (MVD) is nonablative and is considered the gold standard. However, stereotaxic radiosurgery (SRS) and percutaneous stereotaxic rhizotomy (PSR) are 2 noninvasive but ablative options that have rapidly gained support.

Objective: To use Medicare claims data in conjunction with a literature review to assess the usage, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of the 3 different invasive treatments for trigeminal neuralgia.

Methods: All of the claims of trigeminal neuralgia treatment were extracted from the 2011 5% Inpatient and Outpatient Limited Data Set. Current Procedural Terminology, 4th Edition/International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes for the 3 different surgical treatment modalities were used to further classify these claims. Kaplan-Meier survival curves in key articles were used to calculate quality-adjusted life years and cost-effectiveness for each procedure.

Results: A total of 1582 claims of trigeminal neuralgia were collected. Ninety-four (6%) patients underwent surgical intervention. Forty-eight (51.1%) surgical patients underwent MVD, 39 (41.5%) underwent SRS, and 7 (7.4%) underwent PSR. The average weighted costs for MVD, SRS, and PSR were $40 434.95, $38 062.27, and $3910.64, respectively. The quality-adjusted life years were 8.2 for MVD, 4.9 for SRS, and 6.5 for PSR. The cost per quality-adjusted life year was calculated as $4931.1, $7767.8, and $601.64 for MVD, SRS, and PSR, respectively.

Conclusion: This study shows that the most frequently used surgical management of trigeminal neuralgia is MVD, followed closely by SRS. PSR, despite being the most cost-effective, is by far the least utilized treatment modality.

From: Surgical Management of Trigeminal Neuralgia: Use and Cost-Effectiveness From an Analysis of the Medicare Claims Database by Sivakanthan et al.

Free full text access.