St. Louis CyberKnife Trigeminal Neuralgia Patient Shares Her Story
St. Louis CyberKnife uses stereotactic radiosurgery to treat patients with a rare and debilitating nerve disorder called trigeminal neuralgia (TN).
While the Facial Pain Association estimates only one in 15,000 people suffer from TN, it can often be misdiagnosed as a dental problem due to the characteristics of the excruciating facial pain the disease causes. TN occurs when a blood vessel compresses the fifth cranial nerve, one of the largest in the head, making everyday activities like chewing, talking or swallowing a potential pain trigger.
Thankfully for St. Louis CyberKnife patient Mary Stanley, a family member was already familiar with TN and helped her identify the cause of her pain much sooner. Doctors initially prescribed Stanley medication, but it did little to ease her pain. She began to consider other treatment options after the unbearable pain led her to the emergency room.
“The pain is almost indescribable,” Stanley said. “When the doctor told me I would be a good candidate for CyberKnife treatment, I was immediately interested because I experienced side effects with pain medication, and I liked that I would not need a surgical procedure for this treatment.”