Glossopharyngeal neuralgia treated with gamma knife radiosurgery

Brian J Williams, David Schlesinger, Jason Sheehan
World Neurosurgery 2010, 73 (4): 413-7

BACKGROUND: Although gamma knife radiosurgery is an established treatment option for trigeminal neuralgia, its role in the management of glossopharyngeal neuralgia is unclear. We report a case of glosspharyngeal neuralgia treated effectively with gamma knife radiosurgery, review the literature, and discuss the rationale supporting dose and target selection.

CASE DESCRIPTION: A 47-year-old woman presented with persistent lancinating pain to the left throat, which was refractory to medical therapy. She declined a microvascular decompression and instead chose stereotactic radiosurgery. Gamma knife radiosurgery to the glossopharyngeal nerve at the glossopharyngeal meatus was used, and a maximum dose 80 Gy was delivered. She was pain-free off medications 1 month after the procedure and remains pain-free 11 months. There were no adverse neurologic effects attributable to the procedure.

CONCLUSIONS: This clinical response provides encouraging evidence for the treatment of glossopharyngeal neuralgia with stereotactic radiosurgery and is consistent with previous reports. Further investigation is needed to define the role of stereotactic radiosurgery in the management of glossopharyngeal neuralgia.

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