The Journal of Headache and Pain
2023 May 11;24(1):51.doi: 10.1186/s10194-023-01583-4.

Cécile OrtholanPhilippe ColinBenjamin Serrano Thibault BouetNicolas GarnierMaud le GuyaderRegis AmblardRémy VilleneuveStéphane ChanaletHaiel AlchaarEric BozzoloMichel Lanteri-MinetDenys Fontaine


Background: This study compares the outcome of patients suffering from medically refractory classical trigeminal neuralgia (TN) after treatment with radiosurgery using two different shot sizes (5- and 6-mm).

Methods: All patients included in this open, prospective, non-controlled study were treated in a single institution for TN (95 cases in 93 patients) with LINear ACcelerators (LINAC) single-dose radiosurgery using a 5-mm shot (43 cases) or 6-mm shot (52 cases). The target was positioned on the intracisternal part of the trigeminal nerve.

Results: The mean Dmax (D0.035) to the brainstem was higher in the 6-mm group: 12.6 vs 21.3 Gy (p < 0.001). Pain relief was significantly better in the 6-mm group: at 12 and 24 months in the 6-mm group the rate of pain-free patients was 90.2 and 87.8%, respectively vs. 73.6 and 73.6% in the 5-mm group (p = 0.045). At 12 and 24 months post-radiosurgical hypoesthesia was more frequent in the 6-mm group: 47.0 and 58% vs.11.3 and 30.8% in the 5-mm group (p = 0.002). To investigate the effect of cone diameter and the dose to the brainstem on outcomes, patients were stratified into three groups: group 1 = 5-mm shot, (all Dmax < 25 Gy, 43 cases), group 2 = 6-mm shot, Dmax < 25 Gy (32 cases), group 3 = 6-mm shot Dmax > 25 Gy (20 cases). At 12 months the rates of hypoesthesia were 11.3, 33.5 and 76.0%, respectively in groups 1, 2 and 3 (p < 0.001) and the rates of recurrence of pain were 26.4, 16.5 and 5%, respectively, (p = 0.11).

Conclusion: LINAC treatment with a 6-mm shot provided excellent control of pain, but increased the rate of trigeminal nerve dysfunction, especially when the maximum dose to the brainstem was higher than 25 Gy.

Keywords: Linear accelerator; Pain; Radiosurgery; Shot size; Trigeminal neuralgia.

Radiosurgery for classical trigeminal neuralgia: impact of the shot size on clinical outcome