Stereotactic radiosurgery as initial surgical management for elderly patients with trigeminal neuralgia

Jonathan Cohen, Seyed H. Mousavi, Amir H. Faraji, Berkcan Akpinar, Edward A. Monaco, John C. Flickinger, Ajay Niranjan, L. Dade Lunsford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Management of older patients with medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is yet a matter of debate. Objective: We sought to determine the benefit of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as the sole surgical management in older patients (≥70 years). Methods: One hundred and twenty-seven patients (≥70 years) with typical TN underwent SRS as initial surgical management. The median maximum dose for the first procedure was 80 Gy. Repeat SRS was performed in 46 patients who developed recurrent pain. Results: After the first SRS, the initial pain control was achieved in 91% of patients. Complete pain relief (Barrow Neurological Institute [BNI] score I) developed in 75 patients (59%) and was maintained in 59, 39, and 22% of patients at 1, 3, and 5 years. Following repeat SRS, the rate of complete pain relief was 79, 55, and 41% at 1, 3, and 5 years. The chance of BNI I preservation was greater after repeat SRS compared to initial SRS (hazards ratio: 2.02, p < 0.0001). The incidence of trigeminal sensory loss was 17% after initial SRS but increased to 39% after repeat SRS. Conclusions: SRS alone was used effectively in older TN patients to achieve pain control. Recurrent pain responded to retreatment but was associated with an increased risk of sensory dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-165
Number of pages8
JournalStereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Elderly
  • Radiosurgery
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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