Background Medical management of short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache with conjunctival injection and tearing (SUNCT) syndrome and short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with cranial autonomic symptoms (SUNA) is often unsatisfactory.
Methods The authors report nine cases of SUNCT/SUNA that failed medical treatment and had an aberrant arterial loop either in contact with or compressing the appropriate trigeminal nerve demonstrated on MRI. All underwent microvascular decompression of the ipsilateral trigeminal nerve for intractable pain.
Results Immediate and complete relief of SUNCT and SUNA symptoms occurred in 6/9 (67%) cases. This was sustained for a follow-up period of 9–32 months (mean 22.2). In 3/9 (33%) cases, there was no benefit. Ipsilateral hearing loss was observed in one case.
Conclusion Medically intractable SUNCT and SUNA subjects with a demonstrable aberrant arterial loop impinging on the trigeminal nerve on neuroimaging may benefit from microvascular decompression.
- trigeminal neuralgia
- microvascular decompression
- trigeminal nerve
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Competing interests None.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Gold Coast Hospital HREC.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.