Repeat gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia: A single-center experience and focused review of the literature

Academic Article


  • Objectives: Repeat Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (GKSR) for refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TGN) is an increasingly common practice. Prior studies have reported varying success rates and incidence of trigeminal nerve dysfunction following repeated GKSR. We report treatment outcomes and toxicity in patients following repeat GKSR for TGN at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with a focused review of the literature. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed medical records of 55 TGN patients re-treated with radiosurgery using the Leksell Gamma Knife® at the University of Alabama at Birmingham between 1996 and 2012. Outcomes were defined using the Modified Marseille Scale. Demographics, prior treatments and symptom duration were correlated with outcomes. Results: Eighteen patients (33%) achieved Marseille Class I or II, 14 (25%) Class III or IV, and 23 (42%) Class V at a mean follow-up of 14.4 months. Twenty-five patients (45%) developed new trigeminal nerve dysfunction after re-treatment. Of these, four (16%) did not develop dysfunction until subsequent microvascular decompression (MVD) for inadequate symptom relief. Conclusions: Although more than half of the patients undergoing repeat GKSR for refractory TGN maintained excellent or good outcomes (Marseille classes I–IV) at an average follow-up of 14.4 months, neither age, gender, nor pre-treatment duration of symptoms or interval between treatments had a statistically significant effect on outcomes. Following repeat GKSR, patients have increased risk for new-onset trigeminal nerve dysfunction and those undergoing MVD after repeat GKSR may have an increased risk for new-onset trigeminal nerve dysfunction.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Omar NB; Amburgy JW; Self DM; Christen AM; Larios EA; Ditty BJ; Jacob R; Fiveash J; Spencer S; Markert JM
  • Start Page

  • 102
  • End Page

  • 107
  • Volume

  • 70