Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is one of the least invasive treatments for trigeminal neuralgia (TN). To date, most reports have been about Cobalt-based treatments (i.e., Gamma Knife) with limited data on image-guided stereotactic linear accelerator treatments. We describe our initial experience of using BrainLAB Novalis stereotactic system for the radiosurgical treatment of TN. A total of 20 patients were treated between July 2004 and February 2007. Each SRS procedure was performed using the BrainLAB Novalis System. Thin cuts MRI images of 1.5 mm thickness were acquired and fused with the simulation CT of each patient. Majority of the patients received a maximum dose of 90 Gy. The median brainstem dose to 1.0 cc and 0.1 cc was 2.3 Gy and 13.5 Gy, respectively. In addition, specially acquired three-dimensional fast imaging sequence employing steady-state acquisition (FIESTA) MRI was utilized to improve target delineation of the trigeminal proximal nerve root entry zone. Barrow Neurological Index (BNI) pain scale for TN was used for assessing treatment outcome. At a median follow-up time of 14.2 months, 19 patients (95%) reported at least some improvement in pain. Eight (40%) patients were completely pain-free and stopped all medications (BNI Grade I) while another 2 (10%) patients also stopped medications but reported occasional pain (BNI Grade II). Another 2 (10%) patients reported no pain and 7 (35%) patients only occasional pain while continuing medications, BNI Grade IIIA and IIIB, respectively. Median time to pain control was 8.5 days (range: 1-70 days). No patient reported severe pain, worsening pain or any pain not controlled on their previously taken medication. Intermittent or persistent facial numbness following treatments occurred in 35% of patients. No other complications were reported. Stereotactic radiosurgery using the BrainLAB Novalis system is a safe and effective treatment for TN. This information is important as more centers are obtaining image-guided stereotactic-based linear accelerators capable of performing radiosurgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-412
Number of pages6
JournalTechnology in Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • BrainLAB novalis
  • SRS
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery
  • Tic douloureux
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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