New Hope for the Worst Pain?

Encouraging Results Reported for New Noninvasive Treatment Approach

Findings from a recently completed study have returned encouraging results for a new noninvasive technology for the treatment of pain from trigeminal neuralgia (TN), often described by sufferers as the worst imaginable. The study concluded that stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) delivered via CyberKnife® System from Accuray Incorporated provided rapid and sustained pain relief with minimal adverse effects. According to a press release from the manufacturer, the study represents the largest single-center evaluation of the CyberKnife treatment approach for TN thus far conducted. The study followed 138 patients with TN who were treated with the CyberKnife System. Study subjects had taken medications for 4.3 years on average before treatment with radiation. 93.5% of patients reported relief from pain within 3 weeks of first treatment, with stable pain control for 3 years reported by 76% of patients. 78.9% of patients reported complete pain relief and cessation of pain medications within 6 months of treatment. 18.1% of study subjects developed some sensory disturbance, but this was termed a “manageable toxicity” by the authors. The findings were published in the December 2017 edition of Neurosurgery.

Trigeminal neuralgia affects the 5th> cranial nerve, and is often characterized by severe pain requiring long-term treatment with pain medications. This modality loses effectiveness over time, however, and is often accompanied by unwanted side effects. Injections, surgery, or radiosurgery are typically engaged as alternative treatments for these patients. According to Fabienne Hirigoyenberry-Lanson, PhD, Vice President Global Medical and Scientific Affairs at Accuray, the CyberKnife SRS approach is unique in the use of image guidance and automatic beam correction technology to enable precise dose targeting and reproducibility that is superior to other noninvasive techniques. 

Read a press release on the technology and study results.

The journal abstract may be read here.

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