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Hideyuki Kano, Dusan Urgosik, Roman Liscak, Bruce E. Pollock, Or Cohen-Inbar, Jason P. Sheehan, Mayur Sharma, Danilo Silva, Gene H. Barnett, David Mathieu, Nathaniel D. Sisterson and L. Dade Lunsford


The goal of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) when used for patients with intractable idiopathic glossopharyngeal neuralgia.


Six participating centers of the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation identified 22 patients who underwent SRS for intractable glossopharyngeal neuralgia between 1998 and 2015. The median patient age was 60 years (range 34–83 years). The median duration of symptoms before SRS was 46 months (range 1–240 months). Three patients had unsuccessful prior surgical procedures, including microvascular decompression (MVD) (n = 2) and balloon compression (n = 1). The radiosurgical target was the glossopharyngeal meatus. The median maximum dose was 80 Gy.


The median follow-up was 45 months after SRS (range 6–120 months). Twelve patients (55%) had < 4 years of follow-up. Thirteen patients (59%) had initial complete pain relief at a median of 12 days after SRS (range 1–60 days). Three patients (14%) had partial pain relief at a median of 70 days after SRS (range 60–90 days). Six patients (27%) had no pain relief. Among 16 patients with initial pain relief, 5 maintained complete pain relief without medication (Barrow Neurological Institute [BNI] pain intensity score Grade I), 1 maintained occasional pain relief without medication (BNI Grade II), 3 maintained complete pain relief with medication (BNI Grade IIIb), and 7 patients had pain recurrence at a median of 20 months after SRS (range 6–120 months). The rates of maintenance of adequate pain relief (BNI Grades I–IIIb) were 63% at 1 year, 49% at 2 years, 38% at 3 years, 38% at 5 years, and 28% at 7 years. When 7 patients without pain recurrence within 4 years of follow-up were excluded, the rates of maintenance of adequate pain relief were 38% at 5 years and 28% at 7 years. Ten patients required additional procedures (MVD, n = 4; repeat SRS, n = 5; glossopharyngeal nerve block, n = 1). Four of 5 patients who underwent repeat SRS maintained pain relief (BNI Grade I, n = 3; and BNI Grade IIIb, n = 1). No adverse effects of radiation were observed after a single SRS. Two patients developed hyperesthesia in the palatoglossal arch 5 and 8 months after repeat SRS, respectively.


Stereotactic radiosurgery for intractable, medically refractory glossopharyngeal neuralgia provided lasting pain reduction in 55% of patients after 1 or 2 SRS procedures. Patients who had a poor response or pain recurrence may require additional procedures such as repeat SRS, MVD, nerve blocks, or nerve section. No patient developed changes in vocal cord function or swallowing disorders after SRS in this study.

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Jason P. Sheehan, Shota Tanaka, Michael J. Link, Bruce E. Pollock, Douglas Kondziolka, David Mathieu, Christopher Duma, A. Byron Young, Anthony M. Kaufmann, Heyoung McBride, Peter A. Weisskopf, Zhiyuan Xu, Hideyuki Kano, Huai-che Yang and L. Dade Lunsford


Glomus tumors are rare skull base neoplasms that frequently involve critical cerebrovascular structures and lower cranial nerves. Complete resection is often difficult and may increase cranial nerve deficits. Stereotactic radiosurgery has gained an increasing role in the management of glomus tumors. The authors of this study examine the outcomes after radiosurgery in a large, multicenter patient population.


Under the auspices of the North American Gamma Knife Consortium, 8 Gamma Knife surgery centers that treat glomus tumors combined their outcome data retrospectively. One hundred thirty-four patient procedures were included in the study (134 procedures in 132 patients, with each procedure being analyzed separately). Prior resection was performed in 51 patients, and prior fractionated external beam radiotherapy was performed in 6 patients. The patients' median age at the time of radiosurgery was 59 years. Forty percent had pulsatile tinnitus at the time of radiosurgery. The median dose to the tumor margin was 15 Gy. The median duration of follow-up was 50.5 months (range 5–220 months).


Overall tumor control was achieved in 93% of patients at last follow-up; actuarial tumor control was 88% at 5 years postradiosurgery. Absence of trigeminal nerve dysfunction at the time of radiosurgery (p = 0.001) and higher number of isocenters (p = 0.005) were statistically associated with tumor progression–free tumor survival. Patients demonstrating new or progressive cranial nerve deficits were also likely to demonstrate tumor progression (p = 0.002). Pulsatile tinnitus improved in 49% of patients who reported it at presentation. New or progressive cranial nerve deficits were noted in 15% of patients; improvement in preexisting cranial nerve deficits was observed in 11% of patients. No patient died as a result of tumor progression.


Gamma Knife surgery was a well-tolerated management strategy that provided a high rate of long-term glomus tumor control. Symptomatic tinnitus improved in almost one-half of the patients. Overall neurological status and cranial nerve function were preserved or improved in the vast majority of patients after radiosurgery.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010