Trigeminal Neuralgia

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Focused Ultrasound Therapy

Focused ultrasound is a rapidly evolving, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with trigeminal neuralgia. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the brain without damaging surrounding normal tissue.

How it Works
Where the beams converge, focused ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue), which enables trigeminal neuralgia to be treated without surgery.

The primary options for treatment of trigeminal neuropathy include medication or invasive surgery.

For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications – such as surgical wound healing or infection – at a lower cost. It can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue and is repeatable, if necessary.

Clinical Trials

A current clinical trial at the University of Maryland is treating patients with trigeminal neuralgia.

See a full list of trigeminal neuralgia clinical trials. 

See a list of treatment sites >
See a list of laboratory research sites >

Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement 

Trigeminal neuralgia treatment in the US has not been approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies. In Europe, trigeminal neuralgia has been treated under the neuropathic pain CE Mark.

Notable Papers

Gallay M, Moser D, Jeanmonod D. MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound Central Lateral Thalamotomy for Trigeminal Neuralgia. Single Center Experience Frontiers in Neurology, V11 2020. DOI=10.3389/fneur.2020.00271

Ma Y, Hsu G, Zhang F. The applicability and efficacy of magnetic resonance-guided high intensity focused ultrasound system in the treatment of primary trigeminal neuralgia. Med Hypotheses. 2020 Mar 25;139:109688. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2020.109688.

Franzini A, Moosa S, D’Ammando A, Bono B, Scheitler-Ring K, Ferroli P, Messina G, Prada F, Franzini A. The neurosurgical treatment of craniofacial pain syndromes: current surgical indications and techniques. Neurol Sci. 2019 May;40(Suppl 1):159-168. doi: 10.1007/s10072-019-03789-4.

Dallapiazza RF, Timbie KF, Holmberg S, Gatesman J, Lopes MB, Price RJ, Miller GW, Elias WJ. Noninvasive neuromodulation and thalamic mapping with low-intensity focused ultrasound. J Neurosurg. 2018 Mar;128(3):875-884. doi: 10.3171/2016.11.JNS16976. Epub 2017 Apr 21.

Monteith SJ, Medel R, Kassell NF, Wintermark M, Eames M, Snell J, Zadicario E, Grinfeld J, Sheehand JP, Elias WJ. Transcranial magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery for trigeminal neuralgia: a cadaveric and laboratory feasibility study. J Neurosurg. 2013;118(2):319-28.

Pirrotta R1, Jeanmonod D, McAleese S, Aufenberg C, Opwis K, Jenewein J, Martin-Soelch C. Cognitive Functioning, Emotional Processing, Mood, and Personality Variables Before and After Stereotactic Surgery: A Study of 8 Cases With Chronic Neuropathic Pain. Neurosurgery. 2013 Jul;73(1):121-8. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000429845.06955.70.

Daniel Jeanmonod, Beat Werner, Anne Morel, Lars Michels, Eyal Zadicario, Gilat Schiff, Ernst Martin. Transcranial magnetic resonance imaging–guided focusedultrasound: noninvasive central lateral thalamotomy forchronic neuropathic pain. Neurosurg Focus. 2012 Jan;32(1):E1. doi: 10.3171/2011.10.FOCUS11248.

Michels L, Moazami-Goudarzi M, Jeanmonod D. Correlations between EEG and clinical outcome in chronic neuropathic pain: surgical effects and treatment resistance. Brain Imaging Behav. 2011 Dec;5(4):329-48. doi: 10.1007/s11682-011-9135-2.

Click here for additional references from PubMed.

International Approval
Clinical Trials