Hideyuki Kano, Douglas Kondziolka, David Mathieu, Scott L. Stafford, Thomas J. Flannery, Ajay Niranjan, Bruce E. Pollock, Anthony M. Kaufmann, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford
The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) when used for patients with intractable cluster headache (CH).
Four participating centers of the North American Gamma Knife Consortium identified 17 patients who underwent GKS for intractable CH between 1996 and 2008. The median patient age was 47 years (range 26–83 years). The median duration of pain before GKS was 10 years (range 1.3–40 years). Seven patients underwent unsuccessful prior surgical procedures, including microvascular decompression (2 patients), microvascular decompression with glycerol rhizotomy (2 patients), deep brain stimulation (1 patient), trigeminal ganglion stimulation (1 patient), and prior GKS (1 patient). Fourteen patients had associated autonomic symptoms. The radiosurgical target was the trigeminal nerve (TN) root and the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) in 8 patients, only the TN in 8 patients, and only the SPG in 1 patient. The median maximum TN and SPG dose was 80 Gy.
Favorable pain relief (Barrow Neurological Institute Grades I–IIIb) was achieved and maintained in 10 (59%) of 17 patients at a median follow-up of 34 months. Three patients required additional procedures (repeat GKS in 2 patients, hypothalamic deep brain stimulation in 1 patient). Eight (50%) of 16 patients who had their TN irradiated developed facial sensory dysfunction after GKS.
Gamma Knife surgery for intractable, medically refractory CH provided lasting pain reduction in approximately 60% of patients, but was associated with a significantly greater chance of facial sensory disturbances than GKS used for trigeminal neuralgia.
Zachary J. Tempel, Srinivas Chivukula, Edward A. Monaco III, Greg Bowden, Hideyuki Kano, Ajay Niranjan, Edward F. Chang, Penny K. Sneed, Anthony M. Kaufmann, Jason Sheehan, David Mathieu and L. Dade Lunsford
Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is the least invasive treatment option for medically refractory, intractable trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and is especially valuable for treating elderly, infirm patients or those on anticoagulation therapy. The authors reviewed pain outcomes and complications in TN patients who required 3 radiosurgical procedures for recurrent or persistent pain.
A retrospective review of all patients who underwent 3 GKRS procedures for TN at 4 participating centers of the North American Gamma Knife Consortium from 1995 to 2012 was performed. The Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain score was used to evaluate pain outcomes.
Seventeen patients were identified; 7 were male and 10 were female. The mean age at the time of last GKRS was 79.6 years (range 51.2–95.6 years). The TN was Type I in 16 patients and Type II in 1 patient. No patient suffered from multiple sclerosis. Eight patients (47.1%) reported initial complete pain relief (BNI Score I) following their third GKRS and 8 others (47.1%) experienced at least partial relief (BNI Scores II–IIIb). The average time to initial response was 2.9 months following the third GKRS. Although 3 patients (17.6%) developed new facial sensory dysfunction following primary GKRS and 2 patients (11.8%) experienced new or worsening sensory disturbance following the second GKRS, no patient sustained additional sensory disturbances after the third procedure. At a mean follow-up of 22.9 months following the third GKRS, 6 patients (35.3%) reported continued Score I complete pain relief, while 7 others (41.2%) reported pain improvement (BNI Scores II–IIIb). Four patients (23.5%) suffered recurrent TN following the third procedure at a mean interval of 19.1 months.
A third GKRS resulted in pain reduction with a low risk of additional complications in most patients with medically refractory and recurrent, intractable TN. In patients unsuitable for other microsurgical or percutaneous strategies, especially those receiving long-term oral anticoagulation or antiplatelet agents, GKRS repeated for a third time was a satisfactory, low risk option.