News | July 15, 2007

Varian's Trilogy Treats Trigeminal Neuralgia at UCSD

July 16, 2007 – A medical team at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) recently performed image-guided radiosurgery using Trilogy technology from Varian Medical Systems to treat a patient’s trigeminal neuralgia. Trigeminal neuralgia, an intractable disorder of the trigeminal nerve, can cause almost incapacitating pain.

"The trigeminal nerve is responsible for sensation in the jaw and face, so you don't want to destroy it, but you have to calm it down and stop it from firing randomly," explained John Alksne, M.D., professor of Neurosurgery at UCSD. Trilogy treatments are noninvasive,reportedly painless and typically performed on an outpatient basis in less than an hour.

The Trilogy machine is outfitted with two imaging systems that make it possible to deliver precise radiation: the On-Board Imager device, which generates 3-D images of the targeted area prior to treatment, and the FramelessArray optical guidance system, which uses an optical camera to continuously monitor the patient's position during treatment.

To perform the radiosurgery, doctors used a tiny beam 5 millimeters in diameter. "We anticipated that it would take anywhere from two weeks to two months for us to know how much benefit [the patient] was going to realize from the treatment," Dr. Alksne said. By the end of two months, her pain had completely disappeared, and the result has been durable.

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