Gamma knife radiosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia: a study of predictors of success, efficacy, safety, and outcome at LSUHSC.Surg Neurol. 2004 Jun; 61(6):529-34; discussion 534-5.SN
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a painful condition of controversial origin; however, vascular compression of the root entry zone of the trigeminal nerve is thought to be responsible in some cases. Recently, stereotactic radiosurgery has been established as an alternative treatment for medically intractable TN.
Forty patients with medically refractory TN underwent gamma knife surgery for pain control at our institution. Dose planning was based on high-resolution, contrast-enhanced, axial, volume acquisition magnetic resonance images. Images were reviewed to detect vascular compression of the trigeminal nerve at the root entry zone by an observer blinded to the affected side and the outcome. Another observer, blinded to radiologic findings, conducted the patient follow-up. Results were classified as excellent and good (favorable outcomes) and failure (unfavorable) based upon the intensity of pain, frequency of episodes, pain medications, and need for additional interventions after radiosurgery.
Pain was left-sided in 22 patients and right-sided in 18 patients. Vascular compression of the affected nerve at the root entry zone was demonstrable in 14 patients. Prescription dose ranged from 70 to 90 Gy. At a median follow-up of 14 months (range, 3-31 months), 16 patients (40%) had excellent pain control, 12 (30%) had good control, while 12 (30%) had failed treatment. The Kaplan-Meier actuarial pain control rate at 15 months was 82.25 +/- 0.8% (95%CI). Magnetic resonance detectable vascular compression did not affect the outcome (p = 0.6). Increasing marginal dose (> or =40Gy) was a significant predictor of favorable outcome (p = 0.015).
gamma knife surgery is an effective and safe treatment for TN. In our study, we found that vascular compression of the nerve at the root entry zone was not a predictor of the outcome of gamma surgery for TN. The outcome improves with marginal prescription dose of 80 Gy or higher.