What is Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia (TN)? 

What is Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia (TN)? 

I want to preface this by noting that there is no medical cure for TN. All treatments currently available (surgical or pharmacological) are meant to block the pain, not address the root cause of TN.

Gamma Knife® (no actual physical knife🔪 is used) is a radiation therapy that uses computerized treatment planning software to help physicians locate and irradiate small targets within the head and brain with very high precision. The treatment delivers intense radiation doses to the target area while sparing surrounding tissue.

In my case, the target is the trigeminal nerve and the goal is to inactivate the flow of pain information through the nerve by cross-firing the x-ray beams very, very precisely on a target that’s about the size of a green pea.

Before the procedure, a team of Gamma Knife experts create a detailed map of your brain from an MRI, precisely locating your trigeminal nerve.

Next, a focused, custom-designed dose of radiation painlessly targets only the trigeminal nerve, leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact.

After treatment, a lesion (scar) gradually forms in the nerve and blocks the transmission of pain signals along the nerve. Generally, patients begin experiencing gradual improvements in their condition anytime between one day and six months, with most people improving within one month. Length of relief varies per patient, but can last anywhere from 19 months to 5 years on average.

SIDENOTE: In pic #1, the “frame” is mounted to your head in 4 spots (topical and local anesthesia is given in all 4 spots). I received Dilantin and Fentanyl thru an IV as a relaxant (highly recommend)✅. . Pic #2 is the “helmet” thru which radiation is pinpointed (not me in pic). Pic #3 is recovering at home same, still feeling loopy (don’t even remember taking the pic).

Procedure done at UPMC Pittsburgh and my care was exemplary!

Wanna know more?🤔


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