CyberKnife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for trigeminal neuralgia (TGN) administers nonisometric, conformational high-dose radiation to the trigeminal nerve with risk of subsequent hypoesthesia.We performed a retrospective, single-institution review of 66 patients with TGN treated with CyberKnife SRS to compare outcomes from 2 distinct treatment periods: standard dosing (n = 38) and reduced dosing (n = 28). Standard and reduced dosing permitted a maximum brainstem dose of 45 Gy and 25 Gy, respectively, each with a prescription dose of 60 Gy. Primary and secondary outcomes were Barrow Neurologic Institute pain and numbness scores. Maximum brainstem dose, prepontine nerve length, and treatment history were recorded for their predictive contributions by logistic regression.After matching, patients in the standard dosing and reduced dosing groups were followed for a median of 25 months and 19.5 months, respectively. Mean trigeminal nerve length was 8.55 mm in the standard dosing group and 9.46 mm in the reduced dosing group. Baseline rates of poorly controlled pain were 97% and 88%, respectively, which improved to 23.4% and 8.3%, respectively (P < 0.001 for both). The baseline rates of bothersome numbness were null in both groups, and increased to 25% in the standard group (P = 0.006) and to 21% in the reduced group (P = 0.07). Regression analyses suggested that reduced brainstem exposure (P = 0.01), as well as a longer trigeminal nerve (P = 0.01), were predictive of durable pain control.These outcomes demonstrate that a lower maximum brainstem dose can provide excellent pain control without affecting facial numbness. Longer nerves may achieve better long-term outcomes and help optimize individual plans.
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