Cyberknife radiation relieves stabbing pain of facial nerve condition

A technique that delivers highly focused beams of radiation, known as Cyberknife, can relieve the stabbing pain of the facial nerve condition trigeminal neuralgia, indicates a small study published online in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery.

Trigeminal neuralgia is thought to affect around five in every 100,000 people. It takes its name from the trigeminal nerve, the source of the pain, which is experienced as a sharp, stabbing/, affecting the jaw or cheek.

While brief, these episodes are recurrent, and drug treatments often fail to provide long lasting relief and/or have a range of side effects. Surgery is often successful, but not all patients are candidates for anaesthesia and some simply don't want such an .

The authors treated 17 patients with trigeminal neuralgia with Cyberknife radiosurgery between 2007 and 2009.

The patients, who were aged between 36 and 90, had had their symptoms for between one and 11 years and had not responded to the available treatment options.

The researchers zapped a 6mm length of trigeminal nerve, just 2 to 3mm from the root, using a maximum of 73.06 Gy.

The patients were then monitored regularly after the procedure, for an average of just under 12 months.

Complete data were available for 16 patients, 14 of whom obtained either partial or complete relief from their symptoms.

The average time before symptom relief occurred was just under two months, but varied from three weeks to six months. Four patients relapsed after the procedure, between three and 18 months later.

No patient experienced major complications as a result of the procedure, and only two patients reported any sensory side effects, prompting the authors to conclude that offers a viable alternative to more invasive approaches and warrants further investigation.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists uncover mechanism for dental pain

Jan 08, 2009

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University's School of Dentistry have discovered a novel function of the peptide known as Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the development of the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve provides ...

New options when an old enemy returns

Sep 21, 2008

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most challenging malignancies to treat, and recurrence is common, even after initial treatment with surgery and radiation. When the cancer does return, treatment options are often limited to ...

Recommended for you

Celebrities in 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight disease

9 hours ago

Steven Spielberg, Justin Bieber and Bill Gates are among many celebrities pouring buckets of ice water over their heads and donating to fight Lou Gehrig's disease, in a fundraising effort that has gone viral.

Study helps explain why elderly have trouble sleeping

10 hours ago

As people grow older, they often have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, and tend to awaken too early in the morning. In individuals with Alzheimer's disease, this common and troubling symptom ...

Targeted brain training may help you multitask better

12 hours ago

The area of the brain involved in multitasking and ways to train it have been identified by a research team at the IUGM Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal and the University of Montreal.

User comments