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J Neurosurg. 2002 Dec;97(5 Suppl):525-8.

Gamma knife radiosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia: the dry-eye complication.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Chiba Cardiovascular Center, Ichihara, Chiba, Japan.



The purpose of this paper is to report a unique complication of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) for trigeminal neuralgia (TN). The nature of this complication and its related factors are discussed.


Forty-one medically refractory patients with TN were treated with GKS. All patients received 80 Gy to the proximal trigeminal nerve root, using a 4-mm collimator and a single isocenter. Follow up consisted of three monthly outpatient sessions after GKS. Improvement, recurrence, complications, and changes in magnetic resonance imaging were recorded. To evaluate the factors behind the complications, a subgroup of 33 patients was assessed in whom the follow-up duration was more than 9 months. The follow-up duration was 3 to 36 months (mean 13 months). The results were excellent in 20 patients, good in 11, and fair in seven. No patient had a poor result. Three patients suffered recurrences. Seven patients suffered complications 9 to 24 months after GKS. All seven patients complained of facial numbness and hypesthesia was recorded. Three of them also complained of "dry eye" with diminution or absence of corneal reflex but no other abnormalities of the cornea and conjunctiva were found on ophthalmological examination. In these three patients, hypesthesia of the first division of the trigeminal nerve area had been found before their "dry eye" symptoms appeared. The irradiated volume on the brainstem was significantly related to this complication.


The dry eye symptom seems to be a special form of sensory disturbance. An overdose of radiation to the brainstem may play an important role in the manifestation of this complication.

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