Industry NewsHead & Neck cancer

NICE Endorses Radiosurgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia

By News Release


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK has endorsed the use of radiosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia (TN), according to an announcement from Accuray. The company further noted that its CyberKnife Treatment Delivery System provides an effective, non-invasive treatment option for this chronic and potentially debilitating neurologic condition, typically delivered in one outpatient procedure.

CyberKnife radiosurgery enables our team to achieve pain control in almost 95% of patients within 2-4 weeks and long-term healing in 75% of trigeminal neuralgia cases, enabling most patients to resume activities of importance to them. In our 15 years long-term experience, we have established precise treatment parameters that allow us to limit the risk of complications to a very low level and to date, no major issues have been reported," said Alfredo Conti, associate professor of neurosurgery at Alma Mater Bologna University in Bologna, Italy.

Associate professor Conti continued, "The treatment is delivered in a 30 minute out-patient procedure and imaging is obtained days before so the treatment can be planned in a way that is comfortable for both the patient and physicians. The absence of rigid head fixation, the out-patient modality and the treatment delivery speed makes CyberKnife radiosurgery particularly well tolerated and, as a matter of fact, the less invasive non-pharmacological option for trigeminal neuralgia at our hospital."

TN affects the trigeminal nerve that carries sensation from the face to the brain. Patients can experience excruciating pain in the areas of the face where the branches of the nerve are distributed such as the upper and lower jaws, teeth and cheek. TN occurs most frequently in people over age 50 and is more common in women than in men.

Frequently described as electric shock-like facial pain or a sharp shooting pain, trigeminal neuralgia occurs in unpredictable attacks that may last from a few seconds to approximately two minutes. According to the National Health Service (NHS) UK, "people with the condition may experience attacks of pain regularly for days, weeks or months at a time. In severe cases, attacks may happen hundreds of times a day."

Treatment of TN usually begins with medication to block the pain signals sent to the brain. Over time, some medications become less effective, and certain patients experience unpleasant side effects. Alternative treatments, such as injections, surgery or radiosurgery, may be required for these patients.

"Trigeminal neuralgia has the potential to significantly impact a person's quality of life if not appropriately managed, resulting in issues ranging from weight loss to isolation and depression. I'm honored to share this positive CyberKnife System news and to lead an organization whose radiosurgery device can make such a meaningful difference in the lives of these patients," said Suzanne Winter, president of Accuray.