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Vol. 90, No. 3, 2012
Issue release date: June 2012
Stereotact Funct Neurosurg 2012;90:145–150

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery in the Treatment of Tumor-Related Facial Pain

Squire S.E. · Chan M.D. · Furr R.M. · Lowell D.A. · Tatter S.B. · Ellis T.L. · Bourland J.D. · deGuzman A.F. · Munley M.T. · Ekstrand K.E. · Shaw E.G. · McMullen K.P.
Departments of aRadiation Oncology, bNeurosurgery and cPsychology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C., USA

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Background: Intracranial neoplasms can cause pain similar to trigeminal neuralgia. Literature regarding radiosurgery for this is limited. We present a retrospective review of patients with tumor-related facial pain from benign lesions treated with gamma knife radiosurgery (GKRS) at Wake Forest University. Objectives: The primary objectives were to determine long-term pain relief and predictive factors for pain alleviation. Methods: We reviewed 515 patients treated with GKRS for benign meningioma, vestibular schwannoma or trigeminal schwannoma between August 1999 and August 2010. Twenty-one eligible patients had tumor-related facial pain prior to GKRS. The median marginal tumor dose was 12 Gy. Long-term pain relief data were obtained by chart review and telephone interview. Results: The median follow-up for symptom evaluation was 3.8 years. Seventeen of 21 patients (81%) experienced a Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) score of I–III at 6 months following GKRS. Kaplan-Meier estimates of freedom from BNI IV–V relapse were 66% at 1 year and 53% at 2 years. No pain relapses occurred after 2 years. Conclusion: GKRS of benign lesions is a noninvasive option for patients with tumor-related facial pain. Pain relief is modest, with the majority of pain relapses occurring within 2 years and approximately one half of patients maintaining relief beyond 2 years.

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