Al-Otaibi F, Alhindi H, Alhebshi A, Albloushi M, Baeesa S, Hodaie M


Surg Neurol Int. 2014 Jan 18;4(Suppl 6):S462-7



Radiosurgery is a well-established treatment modality for medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia. The exact mechanism of pain relief after radiosurgery is not clearly understood. Histopathology examination of the trigeminal nerve in humans after radiosurgery is rarely performed and has produced controversial results.


We report on a 45-year-old female who received radiosurgery treatment for trigeminal neuralgia by Cyberknife. A 6-mm portion of the cisternal segment of trigeminal nerve received a dose of 60 Gy. The clinical benefit started 10 days after therapy and continued for 8 months prior to a recurrence of her previous symptoms associated with mild background pain. She underwent microvascular decompression and partial sensory root sectioning. Atrophied trigeminal nerve rootlets were grossly noted intraoperatively under surgical microscope associated with changes in trigeminal nerve color to gray. A biopsy from the inferolateral surface of the nerve proximal to the midcisternal segment showed histological changes in the form of fibrosis and axonal degeneration.


This case study supports the evidence of histological damage of the trigeminal nerve fibers after radiosurgery therapy. Whether or not the presence and degree of nerve damage correlate with the degree of clinical benefit and side effects are not revealed by this study and need to be explored in future studies.