Gamma knife radiosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia: experience at the Barrow Neurological Institute

Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 1999;73(1-4):131-3. doi: 10.1159/000029771.


Forty-three patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) unresponsive to pharmacologic treatment and/or prior invasive procedures underwent stereotactic radiosurgery with the Gamma Knife (GK). Outcome was evaluated by a standardized questionnaire mailed to each patient. The mean follow-up was 9 months. Fifteen patients (35%) reported no trigeminal pain and were no longer taking medication. Three patients (7%) experienced occasional pain, but were no longer taking medication. In 15 patients (35%), pain improved and was adequately controlled by medication, often in lower dosages than preoperatively. Pain was reduced in 9 patients (21%), but their symptoms were still inadequately controlled by drug therapy, and 1 patient (2%) reported no pain relief after treatment. Three patients (7%) described new facial numbness, but in none was this bothersome. GK radiosurgery for TN appears to have minimal morbidity, although the success rate may be slightly lower than that of other operative procedures. More patients and longer follow-up are needed before drawing final conclusions regarding efficacy and complications.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Radiosurgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / surgery*