Repeat Gamma Knife radiosurgery for recurrent trigeminal neuralgia in patients with multiple sclerosis

Acta Neurochirurgica (2024) 166:15

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) has emerged as an effective treatment option for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). To date, the outcomes of repeat GKRS for patients with TN and MS with recurrent pain have been investigated in a few patients. This study aims to report the outcomes and predictive factors of pain reduction for MS patients undergoing repeat GKRS for recurrent TN.

Methods Eighteen patients with MS underwent repeat GKRS for recurrent TN. A retrospective chart review and telephone interviews were conducted to determine background medical history, dosimetric data, and outcomes of the procedure. Facial pain and sensory function were evaluated using the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) scales.

Results Fifteen patients achieved a BNI pain score of IIIa or better, indicating pain reduction, within a median period of 21 days after repeat GKRS. The maximum dose for repeat GKRS ranged from 70 to 85 Gy. Pain recurred in 5 patients after a median period of 12 months after GKRS. Percentages of patients with pain reduction at 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 years were 60%, 60%, 50%, 50%, and 50%, respectively. Older age at repeat GKRS predicted sustained pain reduction (P = 0.01). Seven patients developed facial sensory disturbances, which were bothersome in two patients.

Conclusions Repeat GKRS may be used as an effective treatment modality for prolonging the duration of pain reduction time in patients with MS and TN. After repeat GKRS, facial sensory disturbances are common; however, they are often not bothersome.