Trigeminal neuralgia can be treated with stereotactic radiosurgery to the trigeminal nerve. This technique targets the nerve as it exits the brainstem and has shown reasonable efficacy in patients with classic trigeminal neuralgia.
The pain may take 2-3 weeks to resolve, but results are reassuring. This option is preferred in patients who are at high risk for surgery or who have failed surgical decompression or percutaneous procedures.
This is performed in the radiation oncology suite with Drs. Robert Wollman and Lisa Chaiken, utilizing the Varian Edge linear accelerator device – the most precise LINAC system available. Patients may require placement of a frame for high-precision.
After imaging and planning is complete, the actual treatment session typically lasts between 30-45 minutes. This procedure is well tolerated, but not without risks. These include failure to improve pain, worsening of pain, facial numbness and brainstem injury. This technique is akin to Gamma Knife or CyberKnife therapy.