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Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment: CyberKnife and Gamma Knife Overview

Trigeminal neuralgia is a painfully debilitating neuropathic disorder. Commonly referred to as TN, the condition is a disorder of the trigeminal, or fifth cranial, nerve that controls sensation in the face. TN patients experience episodes of intense, electroshock-like pain on either side of the face, in the forehead or along the jaw. TN is usually diagnosed based on a patient’s description of symptoms.

Pain can be triggered by something as simple as a light breeze to things like chewing, talking or swallowing. Episodes of pain can arise suddenly. Because it can be emotionally incapacitating for patients and significantly impact their quality of life, TN is commonly known as the “suicide disease.”

Our center treats TN with a procedure called stereotactic radiosurgery, a noninvasive method of treating certain types of tumors and conditions like TN with high-dose radiation beams precisely targeted to a segment of the trigeminal nerve using CyberKnife® technology.

Read below for a treatment comparison of CyberKnife and Gamma Knife®, another technology used to treat TN.

  • Comfort – Gamma Knife uses a metal frame to stabilize the patient’s head during treatment, while TN treatment with CyberKnife is completely noninvasive and doesn’t require a fixed metal head frame. With CyberKnife, patients undergoing treatment simply lie on a treatment table wearing a mesh facemask as the machine rotates around them and automatically adjusts and corrects for any movement.
  • Sedation – Because Gamma KnifeÊuses a metal head frame to secure a patient’s head, local anesthesia is required to eliminate any pain and discomfort during the process. However, treatment with CyberKnife is painless and does not require any anesthesia, allowing patients to resume their normal routines following treatment.

Contact us for more information about how we treat TN patients.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.