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Korean J Pain. 2011 Mar;24(1):48-52. English. Case Report.
Jung SJ , Moon SK , Kim TY , Eom KS .
Department of Neurosurgery, Wonkwang University School of Medicine, Iksan, Korea.

Occipital neuralgia is usually defined as paroxysmal stabbing pain in the greater or lesser occipital nerve (GON or LON) distribution. In occipital neuralgia patients, surgical considerations are carefully taken into account if medical management is ineffective. However, identification of the occipital artery by palpation in patients with thick necks or small occipital arteries can be technically difficult. Therefore, we established a new technique using transcranial Doppler (TCD) sonography for more accurate and rapid identification. The patient was a 64-year-old man who had undergone C1-C3 screw fixation and presented with intractable stabbing pain in the bilateral GON and LON distributions. In cases in which pain management was performed using medication, physical therapy, nerve block, or radiofrequency thermocoagulation, substantial pain relief was not consistently achieved, and recurrence of pain was reported. Therefore, we performed occipital neurectomy of the bilateral GON and LON by using TCD sonography, which helped detect the greater occipital artery easily. After the operation, the patient's headache disappeared gradually, although he had discontinued all medication except antidepressants. We believe that this new technique of occipital neurectomy via a small skin incision performed using TCD sonography is easy and reliable, has a short operative time, and provides rapid pain relief.

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