Aims: To evaluate the diagnostic value of non–nerve-selective MRI sequences in posttraumatic trigeminal neuropathic pain (PTNP).
Keywords: magnetic resonance imaging, trigeminal nerve, trigeminal nerve injuries
Methods: This study retrospectively analyzed all MRI protocols performed between February 2, 2012 and June 20, 2018 commissioned by the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University Hospitals Leuven. Demographic, clinical, and radiologic data were extracted from the records of patients with an MRI in the context of PTNP. A contingency table was constructed based on the opinions of the treating physician and the radiologist who initially evaluated the MRI. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were calculated.
Results: The sample consisted of 27 women (65.9%) and 14 men (34.1%). The sensitivity and negative predictive value of MRI in PTNP were 0.18 and 0.77, respectively. Artifacts interfered with visualization of a possible cause of the trigeminal pain in 24.4% of MRIs. Almost all artifacts (90%) were caused by metal debris originating from the causal procedure or posttraumatic surgeries. MRI resulted in changed management for PTNP patients only once.
Conclusion: The diagnostic value of non–nerve-selective MRI sequences for PTNP is low and has little impact on clinical management. Therefore, there is a need for dedicated sequences with high resolution and low artifact susceptibility for visualizing the posttraumatic injuries of the trigeminal branches.