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Rabih G. Tawk, Mary Duffy-Fronckowiak, Bryan E. Scott, Ronald A. Alberico, Aidnag Z. Diaz, Matthew B. Podgorsak, Robert J. Plunkett, and Robert A. Fenstermaker

Object. The purpose of this study was to assess the durability and completeness of pain relief in patients treated using stereotactic gamma knife surgery (GKS) for trigeminal neuralgia (TN).

Methods. Thirty-eight patients with refractory TN were treated with stereotactic GKS. All patients received a prescription radiation dose of 35, 40, or 45 Gy to the 50% isodose surface through a 4-mm collimator helmet. The group was assessed regularly based on physician-directed interviews for a median follow up of 24 months (range 6–27 months). Pain relief was classified as excellent (no pain without medication), good (well-controlled pain with continued medication), fair (decreased but residual pain with continued medication), or poor (unimproved or increased pain with the same or increased medication).

Three months after treatment, pain relief was good or excellent in 71% of patients. By 24 months post-GKS, 50% of the original cohort had poor pain relief, 21% continued to have either excellent or good relief, 3% had fair relief, and 26% had not reached the 24-month follow up. Based on their status at the last follow up, 29% of patients had excellent and 16% had good pain relief. Thirty-seven percent experienced facial numbness, which was dose related. In addition, there was a significantly higher rate of complete pain relief in patients who had facial numbness following treatment (p = 0.003).

Conclusions. Stereotactic GKS is an effective treatment in patients with TN; however, the durability of pain relief and the time to treatment response are limiting factors. As with other types of ablative treatment, facial numbness is strongly associated with better treatment response.

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Donald M. Whiting, Nestor D. Tomycz, Julian Bailes, Lilian de Jonge, Virgile Lecoultre, Bryan Wilent, Dunbar Alcindor, E. Richard Prostko, Boyle C. Cheng, Cynthia Angle, Diane Cantella, Benjamin B. Whiting, J. Scott Mizes, Kirk W. Finnis, Eric Ravussin, and Michael Y. Oh


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) has been suggested as a potential treatment for intractable obesity. The authors present the 2-year safety results as well as early efficacy and metabolic effects in 3 patients undergoing bilateral LHA DBS in the first study of this approach in humans.


Three patients meeting strict criteria for intractable obesity, including failed bariatric surgery, underwent bilateral implantation of LHA DBS electrodes as part of an institutional review board– and FDA-approved pilot study. The primary focus of the study was safety; however, the authors also received approval to collect data on early efficacy including weight change and energy metabolism.


No serious adverse effects, including detrimental psychological consequences, were observed with continuous LHA DBS after a mean follow-up of 35 months (range 30–39 months). Three-dimensional nonlinear transformation of postoperative imaging superimposed onto brain atlas anatomy was used to confirm and study DBS contact proximity to the LHA. No significant weight loss trends were seen when DBS was programmed using standard settings derived from movement disorder DBS surgery. However, promising weight loss trends have been observed when monopolar DBS stimulation has been applied via specific contacts found to increase the resting metabolic rate measured in a respiratory chamber.


Deep brain stimulation of the LHA may be applied safely to humans with intractable obesity. Early evidence for some weight loss under metabolically optimized settings provides the first “proof of principle” for this novel antiobesity strategy. A larger follow-up study focused on efficacy along with a more rigorous metabolic analysis is planned to further explore the benefits and therapeutic mechanism behind this investigational therapy.