Recurrent pain occurs within three years in 10–25%. Patients with TN and multiple sclerosis are less likely to respond to SRS than those without MS. SRS can be repeated, but only after four months following the original procedure.
Favorable prognosticators: higher radiation doses, previously unoperated patient, absence of atypical pain component, normal pre-treatment sensory function 6).
Outcome prediction of this modality is very important for proper case selection. The aim of a study was to create artificial neural networks (ANN) to predict the clinical outcomes after gamma knife radiosurgery (GKRS) in patients with TN, based on preoperative clinical factors.
They used the clinical findings of 155 patients who were underwent GKRS (from March 2000 to march 2015) at Iran Gamma Knife center, Tehran, Iran. Univariate analysis was performed for a long list of risk factors, and those with P-Value < 0.2 were used to create back-propagation ANN models to predict pain reduction and hypoesthesia after GKRS. Pain reduction was defined as BNI score 3a or lower and hypoesthesia was defined as BNI score 3 or 4.
Typical trigeminal neuralgia (TTN) (P-Value = 0.018) and age>65 (P-Value = 0.040) were significantly associated with successful pain reduction and three other variables including radiation dosage >85 (P-Value = 0.098), negative history of diabetes mellitus (P-Value = 0.133) and depression (P-Value = 0.190). On the other hand, radio dosage > 85 (P-Value = 0.008) was significantly associated with hypoesthesia, other related risk factors (with p-Value < 0.2), were history of multiple sclerosis (P-Value = 0.106), pain duration more than 10 years before GKRS (P-Value = 0.115), history of depression (P-Value = 0.139), history of percutaneous ablative procedures (P-Value = 0.148) and history of diabetes mellitus (P-Value = 0.169).ANN models could predict pain reduction and hypoesthesia with the accuracy of 84.5% and 91.5% respectively. By mutual elimination of each factor in this model we could also evaluate the contribution of each factor in the predictive performance of ANN.
The findings show that artificial neural networks can predict post operative outcomes in patients who underwent GKRS with a high level of accuracy. Also the contribution of each factor in the prediction of outcomes can be determined using the trained network 9).
The long-term results in 130 patients who underwent radiosurgery for classical TN and were subsequently monitored through at least 7 years (median = 9.9, range = 7-14.5) of follow-up.
The median age was 66.5 years. A total of 122 patients (93.8%) became pain free (median delay = 15 days) after the radiosurgery procedure (Barrow Neurological Institute, BNI class I-IIIa). The probability of remaining pain free without medication at 3, 5, 7 and 10 years was 77.9, 73.8, 68 and 51.5%, respectively. Fifty-six patients (45.9%) who were initially pain free experienced recurrent pain (median delay = 73.1 months). However, at 10 years, of the initial 130 patients, 67.7% were free of any recurrence requiring new surgery (BNI class I-IIIa). The new hypesthesia rate was 20.8% (median delay of onset = 12 months), and only 1 patient (0.8%) reported very bothersome hypesthesia.
The long-term results were comparable to those from our general series (recently published), and the high probability of long-lasting pain relief and rarity of consequential complications of radiosurgery may suggest it as a first- and/or second-line treatment for classical, drug-resistant TN 10).
Thirty-six consecutive patients with medically intractable TN received a median radiation dose of 45 Gy applied with a single 4-mm isocenter to the affected trigeminal nerve. Follow-up data were obtained by clinical examination and telephone questionnaire. Outcome results were categorized based on the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain scale with BNI I-III considered to be good outcomes and BNI IV-V considered as treatment failure. BNI facial numbness score was used to assess treatment complications.
The incidence of early pain relief was high (80.5 %) and relief was noted in an average of 1.6 months after treatment. At minimum follow-up of 3 years, 67 % were pain free (BNI I) and 75 % had good treatment outcome. At a mean last follow-up of 69 months, 32 % were free from any pain and 63 % were free from severe pain. Bothersome posttreatment facial numbness was reported in 11 % of the patients. A statistically significant correlation was found between age and recurrence of any pain with age >70 predicting a more favorable outcome after radiosurgery.
The success rate of GKRS for treatment of medically intractable TN declines over time with 32 % reporting ideal outcome and 63 % reporting good outcome. Patients older than age 70 are good candidates for radiosurgery. This data should help in setting realistic expectations for weighing the various available treatment options 11).
From 1994 to 2009, 40 consecutive patients with typical, intractable TN received GKRS. Among these, 22 patients were followed for >60 months. The mean maximum radiation dose was 77.1 Gy (65.2-83.6 Gy), and the 4 mm collimator was used to target the radiation to the root entry zone.
The mean age was 61.5 years (25-84 years). The mean follow-up period was 92.2 months (60-144 months). According to the pain intensity scale in the last follow-up, 6 cases were grades I-II (pain-free with or without medication; 27.3%) and 7 cases were grade IV-V (<50% pain relief with medication or no pain relief; 31.8%). There was 1 case (facial dysesthesia) with post-operative complications (4.54%).
The long-term results of GKRS for TN are not as satisfactory as those of microvascular decompression and other conventional modalities, but GKRS is a safe, effective and minimally invasive technique which might be considered a first-line therapy for a limited group of patients for whom a more invasive kind of treatment is unsuitable 12).
Kondziolka et al., evaluated pain relief and treatment morbidity after trigeminal neuralgia radiosurgery.
All evaluable patients (n = 106) had medically or surgically refractory trigeminal neuralgia. A single 4-mm isocenter of radiation was focused on the proximal trigeminal nerve just anterior to the pons. For follow-up an independent physician who was unaware of treatment parameters contacted all patients.
After radiosurgery, 64 patients (60%) became free of pain and required no medical therapy (excellent result), 18 (17%) had a 50% to 90% reduction (good result) in pain severity or frequency (some still used medications), and 9 (9%) had slight improvement. At last follow-up (median, 18 months; range, 6-48 months), 77% of patients maintained significant relief (good plus excellent results). Only 6 (10%) of 64 patients who initially attained complete relief had some recurrent pain. Radiosurgery dose (70-90 Gy), age, surgical history, or facial sensory loss did not correlate with pain relief. Poorer results were found in patients with multiple sclerosis. Twelve patients developed new or increased facial paresthesias after radiosurgery (10%). No patient developed anesthesia dolorosa. There was no other procedural morbidity.
Gamma knife radiosurgery is a minimally invasive technique to treat trigeminal neuralgia. It is associated with a low risk of facial paresthesias, an approximate 80% rate of significant pain relief, and a low recurrence rate in patients who initially attain complete relief. Longer-term evaluations are warranted 13).