Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) represents a rare craniofacial disorder accounting for about 1% of all craniofacial pain syndromes. GPN shares several pathophysiologic and clinical features with the more common trigeminal neuralgia. Medical therapy and microvascular decompression, in case of vascular nerve compression, represented the mainstay of GPN management. Other ablative therapies have been reported to date; however, few data are available because of the rarity of this pain syndrome. Among the ablative procedures, gamma knife radiosurgery (GKRS) has been recently introduced in the management of GPN with good pain control and low complication rates. Authors performed a systematic review of the published literature about GKRS in the management of GPN. Radiosurgical treatment data, pain control and recurrence rate have been analysed and compared. GKRS represented a valuable and effective treatment option for the management of GPN. Pain control and complication rates are better than those reported by other ablative procedures and microvascular decompression; however, future studies should be focused on the long-term efficacy of GKRS.
Keywords: Craniofacial pain; Gamma knife; Glossopharyngeal neuralgia; Radiosurgery.