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Douglas Kondziolka, Oscar Zorro, Javier Lobato-Polo, Hideyuki Kano, Thomas J. Flannery, John C. Flickinger, and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

Trigeminal neuralgia pain causes severe disability. Stereotactic radiosurgery is the least invasive surgical option for patients with trigeminal neuralgia. Since different medical and surgical options have different rates of pain relief and morbidity, it is important to evaluate longer-term outcomes.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed outcomes in 503 medically refractory patients with trigeminal neuralgia who underwent Gamma Knife surgery (GKS). The median patient age was 72 years (range 26–95 years). Prior surgery had failed in 205 patients (43%). The GKS typically was performed using MR imaging guidance, a single 4-mm isocenter, and a maximum dose of 80 Gy.

Results

Patients were evaluated for up to 16 years after GKS; 107 patients had > 5 years of follow-up. Eighty-nine percent of patients achieved initial pain relief that was adequate or better, with or without medications (Barrow Neurological Institute [BNI] Scores I–IIIb). Significant pain relief (BNI Scores I–IIIa) was achieved in 73% at 1 year, 65% at 2 years, and 41% at 5 years. Including Score IIIb (pain adequately controlled with medication), a BNI score of I–IIIb was found in 80% at 1 year, 71% at 3 years, 46% at 5 years, and 30% at 10 years. A faster initial pain response including adequate and some pain relief was seen in patients with trigeminal neuralgia without additional symptoms, patients without prior surgery, and patients with a pain duration of ≤ 3 years. One hundred ninety-three (43%) of 450 patients who achieved initial pain relief reported some recurrent pain 3–144 months after initial relief (median 50 months). Factors associated with earlier pain recurrence that failed to maintain adequate or some pain relief were trigeminal neuralgia with additional symptoms and ≥ 3 prior failed surgical procedures. Fifty-three patients (10.5%) developed new or increased subjective facial paresthesias or numbness and 1 developed deafferentation pain; these symptoms resolved in 17 patients. Those who developed sensory loss had better long-term pain control (78% at 5 years).

Conclusions

Gamma Knife surgery proved to be safe and effective in the treatment of medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia and is of value for initial or recurrent pain management. Despite the goal of minimizing sensory loss with this procedure, some sensory loss may improve long-term outcomes. Pain relapse is amenable to additional GKS or another procedure.

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Hideyuki Kano, Douglas Kondziolka, Aftab Khan, John C. Flickinger, and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

Many patients with acoustic neuromas (ANs) have hearing function at diagnosis and desire to maintain it. To date, radiosurgical techniques have been focused on conformal irradiation of the tumor mass, with less attention to inner ear structures for which there was scant radiobiological information. The authors of this study evaluated tumor control and hearing preservation as they relate to tumor volume, imaging characteristics, and nerve and cochlear radiation dose following stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) using the Gamma Knife.

Methods

Seventy-seven patients with ANs had serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson [GR] Class I or II) and underwent SRS between 2004 and 2007. This interval reflected more recent measurements of inner ear dosimetry during the authors' 21-year experience. The median patient age was 52 years (range 22–82 years). No patient had undergone any prior treatment for the ANs. The median tumor volume was 0.75 cm3 (range 0.07–7.7 cm3), and the median radiation dose to the tumor margin was 12.5 Gy (range 12–13 Gy). At diagnosis, a greater distance from the lateral tumor to the end of the internal auditory canal correlated with better hearing function.

Results

At a median of 20 months after SRS, no patient required any other additional treatment. Serviceable hearing was preserved in 71% of all patients and in 89% (46 patients) of those with GR Class I hearing. Significant prognostic factors for maintaining the same GR class included (all pre-SRS) GR Class I hearing, a speech discrimination score (SDS) ≥ 80%, a pure tone average (PTA) < 20 dB, and a patient age < 60 years. Significant prognostic factors for serviceable hearing preservation were (all pre-SRS) GR Class I hearing, an SDS ≥ 80%, a PTA < 20 dB, a patient age < 60 years, an intracanalicular tumor location, and a tumor volume < 0.75 cm3. Patients who received a radiation dose of < 4.2 Gy to the central cochlea had significantly better hearing preservation of the same GR class. Twelve of 12 patients < 60 years of age who had received a cochlear dose < 4.2 Gy retained serviceable hearing at 2 years post-SRS.

Conclusions

As currently practiced, SRS with the Gamma Knife preserves serviceable hearing in the majority of patients. Tumor volume and anatomy relate to the hearing level before radiosurgery and influence technique. A low radiosurgical dose to the cochlea enhances hearing preservation.