Top 25 Cited Gamma Knife® Surgery Articles — Trigeminal Neuralgia
Jean Régis and Constantin Tuleasca
Douglas Kondziolka, Oscar Zorro, Javier Lobato-Polo, Hideyuki Kano, Thomas J. Flannery, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford
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.
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.
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).
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.
Anil A. Dhople, Jared R. Adams, William W. Maggio, Shahid A. Naqvi, William F. Regine and Young Kwok
Few long-term studies of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) exist. The authors report their long-term experience with the use of GKS in a previously reported cohort of patients with TN that has now been followed since 1996.
One hundred twelve patients with TN were treated with GKS at the University of Maryland between June 1996 and July 2001. Of these, 67% had no invasive operations for TN prior to GKS, 13% had 1, 4% had 2, and 16% had ≥ 3. The right side was affected in 56% of cases, predominantly involving V2 (26%), V3 (24%), or a combination of both (18%) branches. The median age at diagnosis was 56 years, and median age at GKS was 64 years. The median prescription dose of 75 Gy (range 70–80 Gy) was delivered to the involved trigeminal nerve root entry zone. The authors assessed the degree of pain before and after GKS by using the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain scale.
In total, 102 patients took the survey at least once, for a response rate of 91%. Although not found to alter the conclusions of this study, 7 cases of atypical TN were found and these patients were removed, for a total of 95 cases herein analyzed. The median follow-up was 5.6 years (range 13–115 months). Before GKS, 88% of patients categorized their pain as BNI IV or V (inadequate control or severe pain on medication), whereas the remainder described their pain as BNI III (some pain, but controlled on medication). After GKS, 64% reported a BNI score of I (no pain, no medications), 5% had BNI II (no pain, still on medication), 12% had BNI III, and 19% reported a BNI score of IV or V. The median time to response was 2 weeks (range 0–12 weeks) and the median response duration was 32 months (range 0–112 months). Eighty-one percent reported initial pain relief, and actuarial rates of freedom from treatment failure at 1, 3, 5, and 7 years were 60, 41, 34, and 22%, respectively. Response duration was significantly better for those who had no prior invasive treatment versus those in whom a previous surgical intervention had failed (32 vs 21 months, p < 0.02). New bothersome facial numbness was reported in 6% of cases.
This study represents one of the longest reported median follow-up periods and actuarial results for a cohort of patients with classic TN treated with GKS. Although GKS achieves excellent rates of initial pain relief, these results suggest a steady rate of late failure, particularly among patients who had undergone prior invasive surgical treatment. Despite a higher than expected recurrence rate, GKS remains a viable treatment option, particularly for patients who have had no prior invasive procedures. Patients with recurrences can still be offered salvage therapy with either repeat GKS, microvascular decompression, or rhizotomy.
Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Edward M. Marchan, Lynn H. Fletcher, Kenneth F. Casey and Peter J. Jannetta
Although microvascular decompression (MVD) for patients with medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is widely accepted as the treatment of choice, other “second-tier” treatments are frequently offered to elderly patients due to concerns regarding fitness for surgery. The authors sought to determine the safety and effectiveness of MVD for TN in patients older than 75 years of age.
The authors performed a retrospective review of medical records and conducted follow-up telephone interviews with the patients. The outcome data from 25 MVD operations for TN performed in 25 patients with a mean age of 79.4 years (range 75–88 years) were compared with those of a control group of 25 younger patients with a mean age of 42.3 years (range 17–50 years) who underwent MVDs during the same 30-month period from July 2000 to December 2003.
Initial pain relief was achieved in 96% of the patients in both groups (p = 1.0). There were no operative deaths in either group. After an average follow-up period of 44 and 52 months, 78 and 72% of patients in the elderly and control groups, respectively, remained pain free without medication (p = 0.74).
Microvascular decompression is an effective treatment for elderly patients with TN. The authors' experience suggests that the rate of complications and death after MVD for TN in elderly patients is no different from the rate in younger patients.
Christopher J. Balamucki, Volker W. Stieber, Thomas L. Ellis, Stephen B. Tatter, Allan F. DeGuzman, Kevin P. McMullen, James Lovato, Edward G. Shaw, Kenneth E. Ekstrand, J. Daniel Bourland, Michael T. Munley, Michael Robbins and Charles Branch
Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) is a treatment option for patients with refractory typical trigeminal neuralgia (TN), TN with atypical features, and atypical types of facial pain. The Gamma Knife’s 201 60Co sources decay with a half-life of 5.26 years. The authors examined whether the decrease in dose rate over 4.6 years between Co source replacements affected the control rates of facial pain in patients undergoing GKS.
The authors collected complete follow-up data on 239 of 326 GKS procedures performed in patients with facial pain. Patients were classified by their type of pain. The isocenter of a 4-mm collimator helmet was targeted at the proximal trigeminal nerve root, and the dose (80–90 Gy) was prescribed at the 100% isodose line. Patients reported the amount of pain control following radiosurgery by answering a standardized questionnaire.
Eighty percent of patients experienced greater than 50% pain relief, and 56% of patients experienced complete pain relief after GKS. Neither dose rate nor treatment time was significantly associated with either the control rate or degree of pain relief. A significant association between the type of facial pain and the pain control rate after GKS was observed (p < 0.001; Pearson chi-square test).
In their statistical analysis, the authors accounted for changes in prescription dose over time to prevent the dose rate from being a confounding variable. There was no observable effect of the dose rate or of the treatment duration within the typical period to source replacement.
Patients with facial pain appear to receive consistent treatment with GKS at any time during the first half-life of the Co sources.
Tracy E. Alpert, Chung T. Chung, Lisa T. Mitchell, Charles J. Hodge, Craig T. Montgomery, Jeffrey A. Bogart, Daniel Y-J. Kim, Danel A. Bassano and Seung S. Hahn
Object. The authors sought to evaluate the initial response of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) to gamma knife surgery (GKS) based on the number of shots delivered and radiation dose.
Methods. Between September 1998 and September 2003, some 63 patients with TN refractory to medical or surgical management underwent GKS at Upstate Medical University. Ten patients had multiple sclerosis and 25 patients had undergone prior invasive treatment. Gamma knife surgery was delivered to the trigeminal nerve root entry zone in one shot in 27 patients or two shots in 36 patients. The radiation dose was escalated to less than or equal to 80 Gy in 20 patients, 85 Gy in 21 patients, and greater than or equal to 90 Gy in 22 patients. Pain before and after GKS was assessed using the Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Scale and the improvement score was analyzed as a function of dose grouping and number of shots.
Sixty patients were available for evaluation, with an initial overall and complete response rate of 90% and 27%, respectively. There was a greater improvement score for patients who were treated with two shots compared with one shot, mean 2.83 compared with 1.72 (p < 0.001). There was an increased improvement in score at each dose escalation level: less than or equal to 80 Gy (p = 0.017), 85 Gy (p < 0.001), and greater than or equal to 90 Gy (p < 0.001). Linear regression analysis also indicated that there was a greater response with an increased dose (p = 0.021). Patients treated with two shots were more likely to receive a higher dose (p < 0.001). There were no severe complications. Five patients developed mild facial numbness.
Conclusions. Gamma knife surgery is an effective therapy for TN. Initial response rates appear to correlate with the number of shots and dose.
Dusan Urgosik, Roman Liscak, Josef Novotny Jr., Josef Vymazal and Vilibald Vladyka
Object. The authors present the long-term follow-up results (minimum 5 years) of patients with essential trigeminal neuralgia (TN) who were treated with gamma knife surgery (GKS).
Methods. One hundred seven patients (61 females and 46 males) underwent GKS. The median follow up was time was 60 months (range 12–96 months). The target was the trigeminal root, and the maximum dose was 70 to 80 Gy. Repeated GKS was performed in 19 patients for recurrent pain, and the same dose was used.
Initial successful results were achieved in 96% of patients, with complete pain relief in 80.4%. Relief was achieved after a median latency of 3 months (range 1 day–13 months). Gamma knife surgery failed in 4% of patients. Pain recurred in 25% of patients after a median latent interval of 36 months (6–94 months). The initial success rate after a second GKS was 89% and 58% of patients were pain free. Pain relapse occurred in only one patient in this group. Hypesthesia was observed in 20% of patients after the first GKS and in 32% after the second GKS. The median interval to hypaesthesia was 35 months (range 3–94 months) after one treatment and 21 months (range 1–72 months) after a second treatment.
Conclusions. The initial success rate of pain relief was high and comparable to that reported in other studies. A higher than usual incidence of sensory impairment after GKS could be the long duration of follow-up study and due to the detailed neurological examination.
Timothy D. Solberg, Steven J. Goetsch, Michael T. Selch, William Melega, Goran Lacan and Antonio A. F. DeSalles
Object. The purpose of this work was to investigate the targeting and dosimetric characteristics of a linear accelerator (LINAC) system dedicated for stereotactic radiosurgery compared with those of a commercial gamma knife (GK) unit.
Methods. A phantom was rigidly affixed within a Leksell stereotactic frame and axial computerized tomography scans were obtained using an appropriate stereotactic localization device. Treatment plans were performed, film was inserted into a recessed area, and the phantom was positioned and treated according to each treatment plan. In the case of the LINAC system, four 140° arcs, spanning ± 60° of couch rotation, were used. In the case of the GK unit, all 201 sources were left unplugged. Radiation was delivered using 3- and 8-mm LINAC collimators and 4- and 8-mm collimators of the GK unit. Targeting ability was investigated independently on the dedicated LINAC by using a primate model.
Measured 50% spot widths for multisource, single-shot radiation exceeded nominal values in all cases by 38 to 70% for the GK unit and 11 to 33% for the LINAC system. Measured offsets were indicative of submillimeter targeting precision on both devices. In primate studies, the appearance of an magnetic resonance imaging—enhancing lesion coincided with the intended target.
Conclusions. Radiosurgery performed using the 3-mm collimator of the dedicated LINAC exhibited characteristics that compared favorably with those of a dedicated GK unit. Overall targeting accuracy in the submillimeter range can be achieved, and dose distributions with sharp falloff can be expected for both devices.
Bruce E. Pollock, Loi K. Phuong, Deborah A. Gorman, Robert L. Foote and Scott L. Stafford
Object. Each year a greater number of patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) undergo radiosurgery, including a large number of patients who are candidates for microvascular decompression (MVD).
Methods. The case characteristics and outcomes of 117 consecutive patients who underwent radiosurgery were retrieved from a prospectively maintained database. The mean patient age was 67.8 years; and the majority (58%) of patients had undergone surgery previously. The dependent variable for all analyses of facial pain was complete pain relief without medication (excellent outcome). Median follow-up duration was 26 months (range 1–48 months). The actuarial rate of achieving and maintaining an excellent outcome was 57% and 55% at 1 and 3 years, respectively, after radiosurgery. A greater percentage of patients who had not previously undergone surgery achieved and maintained excellent outcomes (67% at 1 and 3 years) than that of patients who had undergone prior surgery (51% and 47% at 1 and 3 years, respectively; relative risk [RR] = 1.77, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01–3.13, p = 0.04). New persistent trigeminal dysfunction was noted in 43 patients (37%). Tolerable numbness or paresthesias occurred in 29 patients (25%), whereas bothersome dysesthesias developed in 14 patients (12%). Only a radiation dose of 90 Gy correlated with new trigeminal deficits or dysesthesias (RR = 3.10, 95% CI 1.64–5.81, p < 0.001). Excellent outcomes in patients with new trigeminal dysfunction were achieved and maintained at rates of 76% and 74% at 1 and 3 years, respectively, after radiosurgery, compared with respective rates of 46% and 42% in patients who did not experience postradiosurgery trigeminal dysfunction (RR = 4.53, 95% CI 2.03–9.95, p < 0.01).
Conclusions. Radiosurgical treatment provides complete pain relief for the majority of patients with idiopathic TN. There is a strong correlation between the development of new facial sensory loss and achievement and maintenance of pain relief after this procedure. Because the long-term results of radiosurgery still remain unknown, MVD should continue to be the primary operation for medically fit patients with TN.