Clinical outcomes of 114 patients who underwent Gamma-knife radiosurgery for medically refractory idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia

Department of Neurosurgery, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, 37 Guoxue Alley, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan Province, China.
Journal of Clinical Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 1.38). 12/2011; 19(1):71-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.jocn.2011.03.020
Source: PubMed


The optimal radiation dose and target of Gamma-knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for medically refractory idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia (TN) are contentious. We investigated the effects and trigeminal nerve deficits of GKRS using two isocenters to treat a great length of the trigeminal nerve. Between January 2005 and March 2010, 129 patients with idiopathic TN underwent GKRS at the West China Hospital of Sichuan University. A maximum central dose of 80-90 Gy was delivered to the trigeminal nerve root with two isocenters via a 4mm collimator helmet. One hundred and fourteen patients were followed-up periodically by telephone interview to determine the effects, trigeminal nerve deficits and time to the onset of pain relief. The mean follow-up duration was 29.6 months. One hundred and nine patients had complete or partial pain relief and the treatment failed in five patients. Nine patients experienced a recurrence after a mean time of 12.7 months, following an initial interval of pain relief. There were no significant differences between patients with different grades of pain relief with respect to central doses. The mean time to the onset of pain relief was 3.6 weeks. The time to the onset of complete pain relief was significantly shorter than that for partial pain relief. Forty-nine patients reported mild-to-moderate facial numbness and one patient experienced paroxysmal temporalis muscle spasms two weeks after the treatment. GKRS treatment for medically refractory idiopathic TN with two isocenters resulted in an initial pain improvement in 95.6% of patients. The early response to the treatment might suggest a good outcome but, given the high incidence of nerve deficits, GKRS for TN with two isocenters is not recommended as a routine treatment protocol.

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