Stereotactic radiosurgery for tumor-related trigeminal pain

Bruce E. Pollock, Brian A. Iuliano, Robert L. Foote, Deborah A. Gorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Between 1 and 6% of patients who are diagnosed with facial pain syndromes have tumors that involve the trigeminal nerve. We report the effects of stereotactic radiosurgery on tumor-related trigeminal pain. METHODS: We reviewed results, from a prospective database, for 24 consecutive patients with cranial base tumors and either trigeminal neuralgia (n = 9) or painful trigeminal neuropathy (n = 15) who underwent stereotactic radiosurgery during an 8-year period. The tumor was the radiosurgical target for these patients (not the trigeminal nerve or ganglion). The median clinical follow-up period after radiosurgery was 45 months (range, 12-90 mo); the median neuroimaging follow-up period was 36 months (range, 5-86 mo). RESULTS: There were 20 women and 3 men, with an average age of 57 years (range, 33-79 yr). One patient had bilateral facial pain and underwent staged radiosurgery. Pathological classification indicated 16 meningiomas and 8 malignant cranial base tumors (adenoid cystic carcinoma, n = 6; squamous cell carcinoma, n = 2). Twelve of 24 patients (50%) were initially free of pain, and another 11 patients (46%) reported that they experienced significant improvements in their trigeminal pain syndromes after radiosurgery. The tumor histological type, quality of facial pain, preexisting facial numbness, and marginal and maximal radiation doses were not related to postradiosurgical facial pain outcomes. Three patients with malignant cranial base carcinomas developed recurrent facial pain, 1 to 9 months after radiosurgery, which was related to tumor progression outside the irradiated volume. One patient (4%) developed new partial V2 numbness after radiosurgery. CONCLUSION: Radiosurgery proved to be effective in improving tumor-related trigeminal pain for the majority of patients with either benign or malignant cranial base tumors. Recurrence of trigeminal pain is frequent for patients with malignant cranial base carcinomas and is related to tumor progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-583
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000


  • Brain tumor
  • Facial pain
  • Meningioma
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Stereotactic radiosurgery for tumor-related trigeminal pain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this