Trigeminal Neuralgia is a sharp shooting pain in the face which may be triggered by activities such as eating or talking. When severe it can affect many of the activities of normal daily living
High resolution imaging provides excellent definition of the trigeminal nerve. The smallest of the collimators on the Gamma Knife (4mm) is used to irradiate the proximal trigeminal nerve at its entry into the pons (superior part of the brainstem). The results are very promising, though there still remains a role for open surgery (microvascular decompression). However, Gamma Knife treatment is more effective and less invasive than the percutaneous “injection” or radiofrequency lesions.
The first image on the page shows an MRI slice with the Trigeminal Nerve's clearly visible, the second image (seen by clicking on the next button at the base of the image) shows the radiation plan positioned (in this case) on the right sided nerve. Lots of checks are made during the procedure to ensure that the correct nerve is identified for treatment.