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.

Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia Secondary to Multiple Sclerosis

Neurosurgery 93:453–461, 2023

The efficacy of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for the relief of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is well established. Much less is known, however, about the benefit of SRS for multiple sclerosis (MS)–related TN (MS-TN). OBJECTIVE: To compare outcomes in patients who underwent SRS for MS-TN vs classical/idiopathic TN and identify relative risk factors for failure.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective, case-control study of patients who underwent Gamma Knife radiosurgery at our center for MS-TN between October 2004 and November 2017. Cases were matched 1:1 to controls using a propensity score predicting MS probability using pretreatment variables. The final cohort consisted of 154 patients (77 cases and 77 controls). Baseline demographics, pain characteristics, and MRI features were collected before treatment. Pain evolution and complications were obtained at follow-up. Outcomes were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meir estimator and Cox regressions.

RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference between both groups with regards to initial pain relief (modified Barrow National Institute IIIa or less), which was achieved in 77% of patients with MS and 69% of controls. In responders, 78% of patients with MS and 52% of controls eventually had recurrence. Pain recurred earlier in patients with MS (29 months) than in controls (75 months). Complications were similarly distributed in each group and consisted, in the MS group, of 3% of new bothersome facial hypoesthesia and 1% of new dysesthesia.

CONCLUSION: SRS is a safe and effective modality to achieve pain freedom in MS-TN. However, pain relief is significantly less durable than in matched controls without MS.

The Long-Term Outcome of Radiofrequency Ablation in Multiple Sclerosis–Related Symptomatic Trigeminal Neuralgia

Neurosurgery 90:293–299, 2022

Radiofrequency lesioning (RFL) is used to surgically manage trigeminal neuralgia (TN) secondary to multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the long-term outcome of RFL has not been established.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the long-term clinical outcome of RFL in MS-related TN (symptomatic trigeminal neuralgia [STN]).

METHODS: During a 23-yr period, institutional data were available for 51 patients with STN who underwent at least one RFL procedure to treat facial pain. Patient outcome was evaluated at a mean follow-up of 69 mo (95% confidence interval; range 52-86 mo). No pain with no medication (NPNM) was the primary long-term outcome measure.

RESULTS: After an initial RFL procedure, immediate pain relief was achieved in 50 patients (98%), and NPNM as assessed at 1, 3, and 6 yr was 86%, 52%, and 22%, respectively. At the last clinical visit after an initial RFL, 23 patients (45%) with pain recurrence underwent repeat RFL; NPNM at 1, 3, and 6 yr after a repeat RFL was 85%, 58%, and 32%, respectively. There was no difference in pain outcome after an initial and repeat RFL (P = .77). Ten patients with pain recurrence underwent additional RFL procedures. Two patients developed mastication muscle weakness, one patient experienced a corneal abrasion, which resolved with early ophthalmological interventions, and one patient experienced bothersome numbness.

CONCLUSION: RFL achieves NPNM status in STN and can be repeated with similar efficacy.

Percutaneous glycerol rhizotomy for trigeminal neuralgia in patients with multiple sclerosis

J Neurosurg 132:1405–1413, 2020

The prevalence of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS-TN) is higher than in the general population (idiopathic TN [ITN]). Glycerol rhizotomy (GR) is a percutaneous lesioning surgery commonly performed for the treatment of medically refractory TN. While treatment for acute pain relief is excellent, long-term pain relief is poorer. The object of this study was to assess the efficacy of percutaneous retrogasserian GR for the treatment of MS-TN versus ITN.

METHODS A retrospective chart review was performed, identifying 219 patients who had undergone 401 GR procedures from 1983 to 2018 at a single academic institution. All patients were diagnosed with medically refractory MS-TN (182 procedures) or ITN (219 procedures). The primary outcome measures of interest were immediate pain relief and time to pain recurrence following initial and repeat GR procedures. Secondary outcomes included medication usage and presence of periprocedural hypesthesia.

RESULTS The initial pain-free response rate was similar between groups (p = 0.726): MS-TN initial GR 89.6%; MS-TN repeat GR 91.9%; ITN initial GR 89.6%; ITN repeat GR 87.0%. The median time to recurrence after initial GR was similar between MS-TN (2.7 ± 1.3 years) and ITN (2.1 ± 0.6 years) patients (p = 0.87). However, there was a statistically significant difference in the time to recurrence after repeat GR between MS-TN (2.3 ± 0.5 years) and ITN patients (1.2 ± 0.2 years; p < 0.05). The presence of periprocedural hypesthesia was highly predictive of pain-free survival (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS Patients with MS-TN achieve meaningful pain relief following GR, with an efficacy comparable to that following GR in patients with ITN. Initial and subsequent GR procedures are equally efficacious.

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for Multiple Sclerosis-Associated Trigeminal Neuralgia


Neurosurgery 85:E933–E939, 2019

Trigeminal neuralgia in the setting of multiple sclerosis (MS-TN) is a challenging condition to manage that is commonly treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS; Elekta AB). However, data regarding the efficacy of this treatment are somewhat limited, particularly for repeat GKRS.

OBJECTIVE: To report outcomes of GKRS for MS-TN from a cohort study.

METHODS: Retrospective review of our GKRS database identified 77 cases of unilateral MS-TN (UMSTN) in 74 patients treated with GKRS between 2001 and 2016, with 37 cases undergoing repeat GKRS. Background medical history, treatment outcomes and complications, and dosimetric data were obtained by retrospective chart reviews and telephone interviews.

RESULTS:Eighty two percent of UMSTN cases achieved Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) IIIb or better pain relief following initial GKRS for a median duration of 1.1 yr. Estimated rates ofpainreliefat1,3,and5yr were 51,39,and29% respectively.Eighty-eightpercentachieved BNI IIIb or better pain relief after repeat GKRS for a median duration of 4.0 yr. Estimated rates of pain relief at 1 and 3 yr were 70 and 54%, respectively. Median doses for initial and repeat GKRS were 85 and 80 Gy to the 100% isodose line, respectively. Those with MS-TN had a shorter duration of BNI IIIb or better pain relief after initial (4.6 vs 1.1 yr), but not repeat GKRS (3.8 vs 4.0 yr) compared to a historical cohort from our institution.

CONCLUSION: GKRS is an effective, well-tolerated treatment for patientswith MS-TN. More durable relief is often achieved with repeat GKRS.


The Effectiveness of Percutaneous Balloon Compression, Thermocoagulation, and Glycerol Rhizolysis for Trigeminal Neuralgia in Multiple Sclerosis

Neurosurgery 85:E684–E692, 2019

Balloon compression (BC),thermocoagulation (TC),and glycerol rhizolysis (GR) are percutaneous surgical options for trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Whether the outcomes of these procedures in multiple sclerosis-related TN (MS-TN) are as effective as in idiopathic TN (ITN) is unknown.

OBJECTIVE: To retrospectively compare pain relief, complications, and durability achieved by these 3 types of procedures in MS-TN and ITN.

METHODS: Two hundred and four patients with typical TN were treated percutaneously: 33 had MS-TN (64 procedures) and 171 had ITN (329 procedures). All were performed by 1 of 2 neurosurgeons; interviews enabled long-term data to be gathered by an independent observer.

RESULTS: MS-TN patients (53.1%) had Barrow Neurological Institute pain scores of I or II after a percutaneous procedure, compared with 59.3% in the ITN cohort; there was no difference in initial relief between the 2 groups overall (P = .52). There was a trend toward fewer complications in MS-TN compared with ITN (23.4% vs 33.7%, respectively; P = .058). Kaplan–Meier analysis demonstrated no difference in durability of relief in MS-TN (median 23.0 mo) compared with ITN overall (median 24.0 mo; P = .75). Subgroup analysis demonstrated longer relief from BC and TC compared with GR in MS-TN (P = .013). Multivariate analysis confirmed that although the presence of MS does not predict durability of outcome, postoperative numbness (P = .0046) and undergoing a repeat procedure (P = .037) were significant predictors.

CONCLUSION: BC and TC are safe and effective in MS-TN. Postoperative numbness is the strongest prognostic factor in MS-TN.


Microsurgical rhizotomy for trigeminal neuralgia in MS patients

J Neurosurg 130:1877–1888, 2019

Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS)–associated trigeminal neuralgia (TN) have higher recurrence and retreatment rates than non-MS patients. The optimal management strategy and role for microsurgical rhizotomy (MSR) for MS-TN remains to be determined. The aim of this study was to report time to treatment failure (TTF) and pain scores following MSR compared to percutaneous and Gamma Knife procedures.

METHODS Time to treatment failure was analyzed after MSR (n = 14) versus prior procedures (n = 53) among MS-TN patients. Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank test were utilized to compare TTF after MSR versus prior procedures using the same cohort of patients as their own control group. Subsequent analysis compared TTF after MSR to TTF after 93 other procedures among a second cohort of 18 MS-TN patients not undergoing MSR. BNI pain scores were compared between MSR and other procedures among the MS-TN cohort using a chi-square test.

RESULTS TTF was significantly longer after MSR than after other procedures in the MSR cohort (median TTF 79 vs 10 months, respectively, p < 0.0001). Similarly, TTF was longer after MSR than after prior procedures in the non-MSR cohort (median TTF 79 vs 13 months, respectively, p < 0.001). MSR resulted in a higher proportion of excellent pain scores when compared to other procedures in the non-MSR cohort (77% vs 29%, p < 0.001). Probability of treatment survival was higher after MSR than after other procedures at all time points (3, 6, 12, 24, 36, and 48 months). There were no deaths or major complications after MSR.

CONCLUSIONS TTF was significantly longer following MSR compared to prior procedures in MS-TN patients. Additionally, a higher proportion of patients achieved excellent BNI pain scores after MSR.


Long-term follow-up of multimodality treatment for multiple sclerosis-related trigeminal neuralgia

Acta Neurochir (2018) 160:135–144

The treatment for multiple sclerosis-related trigeminal neuralgia (MS-TN) is less efficacious and associated with higher recurrence rates than classical TN. No consensus has been reached in the literature on the choice procedure for MS-TN patients. The aim of this study was to assess the incidence and surgical outcomes of medically refractory MS-TN.

Methods Patient records were retrospectively reviewed for all Manitobans undergoing first procedure for medically refractory MS-TN between 2000 and 2014. Subsequent procedures were then recorded and analyzed in this subgroup of patients. The primary outcome measure was time to treatment failure.

Results The incidence of medically refractory MS-TN was 1.2/million/year. Twenty-one patients with 26 surgically treated sides underwent first rhizotomy including 13 GammaKnife and 13 percutaneous rhizotomies comprised of ten glycerol injections and three balloon compressions. Subsequent procedures were required on 23 sides (88%), including 24 GammaKnife, 19 glycerol injections, 25 balloon compressions, two microvascular decompressions, and four open partial surgical rhizotomies with a total of 99 surgeries on 26 sides (range, 1–12 each).

Conclusions The majority of MS-TN patients become medically refractory and require multiple repeat surgical procedures. MS-TN procedures were associated with high rates of pain recurrence and our data suggests reoperation within 1 year is often necessary. Optimal management strategy in this patient population remains to be determined. Patients need to be counseled on managing expectations as treatments commonly afford only temporary relief.

Glycerol rhizotomy and radiofrequency thermocoagulation for trigeminal neuralgia in multiple sclerosis


J Neurosurg 118:329–336, 2013

Patients with trigeminal neuralgia due to multiple sclerosis (TN-MS) and idiopathic TN (ITN) who underwent glycerol rhizotomy (GR) and radiofrequency thermocoagulation with glycerol rhizotomy (RFTC-GR) were compared to investigate the effectiveness of these percutaneous ablative procedures in the TN-MS population.

Methods. Between 1998 and 2010, 822 patients with typical TN were evaluated; 63 (8%) had TN-MS and 759 (92%) had ITN. Pain relief comparisons were made between 22 GR procedures in patients with TN-MS and 470 GR procedures in patients with ITN; 50 RFTC-GR procedures in patients with TN-MS and 287 RFTC-GR procedures in patients with ITN were compared. Analysis of time to recurrence included only procedures that achieved complete pain relief without medications.

Results. After 15 of the GR procedures (68%) in patients with TN-MS and 315 of the procedures (67%) in those with ITN, the patients were pain free without medications (p = 0.736). After 36 of the RFTC-GR procedures (72%) in patients with TN-MS and 210 of the procedures (73%) in those with ITN, the patients were pain free without medications (p = 0.657). The difference in pain relief between GR and RFTC-GR for patients with TN-MS was not significant (p = 0.447). The median time to failure of GR was 20 months in patients with TN-MS compared with 25 months in those with ITN (p = 0.403). The median time to failure of RFTC-GR was 26 months in the TN-MS population compared with 21 months in the ITN population (p = 0.449). Patients with TN-MS experienced similar times to recurrence whether they were treated with GR or RFTC-GR (p = 0.431).

Conclusions. Pain relief and durability of relief outcomes of GR and RFTC-GR were similar in patients with TN-MS and ITN, reinforcing their use as preferred treatments of TN-MS. The GR and RFTC-GR achieved comparable outcomes in patients with TN-MS, suggesting that both can be used to good effect.