Familial trigeminal neuralgia treated with stereotactic radiosurgery: a case report and literature review

Background Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a chronic pain condition characterized by brief episodes of lancinating pain in one or more distributions of the trigeminal nerve. Episodes of pain secondary to TN are triggered by certain stimuli, such as chewing, shaving, or touching the face. Although a common cause of TN is compression of the trigeminal nerve root entry zone by an artery or vein, many cases of TN are idiopathic. However, there have been limited reports in the literature of familial TN. Case presentation A 31-year-old male presented with classic TN symptoms in the right V1/V2 distribution that recently progressed to the V3 distribution, a case of familial TN. His father and brother both have TN. Carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, and rhizotomy did not improve his symptoms. He was treated with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) with a dose of 85 Gy delivered to the proximal trigeminal root with improvement in his pain. We also review and summarize over 160 cases of familial TN found in the literature. Conclusions This is the first reported case of familial TN treated with SRS. Patients with familial TN are more likely to have bilateral disease, to present with earlier onset, and to become refractory to medical therapy and may require more aggressive approaches. We propose that SRS is a good treatment approach for these patients.
Funding Information
  • National Institutes of Health (T32GM008692, UL1TR000427, TL1TR000429)
  • National Cancer Institute (F30CA203271)

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