Is gamma knife surgery an effective option for treatment of ATN? Meds don't work at all or have intolerable side effects. Situation is becoming very difficult and debilitating due to CONSTANT facial pain. Sometimes worse than others but I really would like this to END! Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. (At your convenience of course.)
There is a body of literature regarding treatment of patients with trigeminal neuralgia using the Gamma Knife. The therapy is quite successful, though you must understand the goals prior to having this done.
The Gamma Knife is a useful tool to deliver doses of radiation very precisely in the brain. Its benefit is that by using many different sources of radiation that converge on a small point, the dose of radiation to the surrounding brain is lessened. Though there is some evidence that the Gamma Knife can offer relief for trigeminal neuralgia, know that the radiation is usually enough to interfere with the normal function of the trigeminal nerve. That is, patients are usually numb on that side of the face after this procedure.
There are other options for patients with trigeminal neuralgia that is unresponsive to medication. These include various techniques for neurolysis and formal surgery. Surgery, in the appropriately selected patient, is effective in 70-80% of cases.
You should discuss these issues with your physician to determine whether the Gamma Knife is right for your particular situation. You may choose to be seen at the Cleveland Clinic by calling 800-223-2273. Ask the operator for the neurosurgery scheduling desk.
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