Stereotactic radiosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia using the gamma knife

2.1 Indications

2.1.1Stereotactic radiosurgery with the gamma knife is used to treat trigeminal neuralgia. This is a condition characterised by sudden bursts (paroxysms) of facial pain. These bursts may be triggered by touch, talking, eating or brushing teeth. The pain occurs in the areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve: the cheeks, jaw, teeth, gums, lips and, less often, around the eyes or forehead. Trigeminal neuralgia is rare; the annual incidence is 4 per 100,000 population.
2.1.2Some people with mild symptoms recover without treatment. For most people, the paroxysmal bursts of severe pain continue indefinitely.
2.1.3The first-line treatment for trigeminal neuralgia is medication. Surgery is considered for people who experience severe pain despite medication, or who have adverse effects from medication.


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