Trigeminal neuralgia, also known as tic douloureux, is a pain syndrome identified by patient history. The condition is characterized by intermittent sharp one-sided facial pain. The pain of trigeminal neuralgia typically involves one side of the face, and usually involves the ophthalmic, maxillary or mandibular area.
Most patients with trigeminal neuralgia are suitable for Gamma Knife radiosurgery. Outcomes are better when it is the first procedure attempted for pain relief. Those with typical pain episodes and those with recent onset of symptoms fare well.
The high energy radiation delivered directly to the nerve in a single session results in blockage of the ephaptic transmission through the pain-carrying fibers of the nerve, preserving the transmission of signals for other sensations such as touch, heat and pressure.
Studies indicate up to 90% of patients experience complete or partial relief from pain as a result of Gamma Knife radiosurgery. At least 25-30% must continue taking additional medicine to remain pain free. Repeat procedure is another effective option.