Trigeminal neuralgia is a serious disorder with pain levels that can be extensively debilitating. If you have been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, your doctor has most likely started you on a course of medication to try to alleviate your severe pain. If management through medication has not been successful, you may be referred to a neurosurgeon who specializes in facial pain. These specialists can perform various types of procedures, including microvascular decompression, percutaneous rhizotomy, pain stimulator implants and, of course, Gamma Knife radiosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia.
How Is Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Performed?
When you undergo Gamma Knife for trigeminal neuralgia, your neurosurgeon will work with a team of radiation specialists to perform the procedure. You will be placed in a head frame to ensure that you do not move during your Gamma Knife radiosurgery; once in place, you will experience multiple beams of radiation, directed at precise locations, including your trigeminal nerve. Those beams of radiation will reduce the nerve’s ability to send abnormal pain signals, and the radiosurgery procedure generally leads to an 80 percent success rate among patients.
Finding the Best Neurosurgeon to Perform Gamma Knife for Trigeminal Neuralgia
The use of Gamma Knife radiosurgery requires sophisticated knowledge and experience to be successful. To ensure your overall success and well-being from start to finish, you must first search for a highly qualified specialist who has surrounded himself or herself with a team of consummate professionals. During the course of your treatment — from planning to completing — you will need to rely on the expertise of your neurosurgeon and the team of radiologists involved with your case. In addition, you will spend time with your doctor’s support team of nurses, paraprofessionals, schedulers and billers. A well-run practice can ensure that you enjoy the highest possible standard of care.
How Does Your Neurosurgeon Compare?
Before you ever decide upon a neurosurgeon to handle your care, you can arm yourself with information about his or her success rate, reviews and proven track record. Many online sites allow patients to score their physicians on a numerical scale and leave reviews about the care they received. In addition, your neurosurgeon’s practice may have testimonials from prior patients who can attest that you are selecting just the right person to handle your Gamma Knife for trigeminal neuralgia procedure. Carefully sort through these reviews and testimonials to see how those former patients were diagnosed and treated, and identify, wherever possible, the level of relief they have felt as a result. You may be able to find a patient with a comparable experience so you can better build your own expectations.
Open Discussion, Open Understanding
As a patient, you should expect to form a healthy relationship with your neurosurgeon. The rapport you form should let you freely share information with your doctor, but one-way communication is not enough. The neurosurgeon you choose should practice open communication with you as well, which includes being transparent with test results and surgical outcome expectations, as well as taking the necessary time to describe the intricacies of the procedure with you and answering any questions you may have. If you have trouble understanding any part of the procedure or expected outcomes, continue to ask questions until you feel fully comfortable. In the patient-doctor relationship, knowledge and communication combine to create the best atmosphere for successful treatment.
Great Doctor, Great Staff
You can often come to an understanding about how well-run a practice is from your initial interaction with a staff member. Helpful and accommodating professionals will set the tenor for your experience. Discuss your availability frankly with the practice scheduler to determine appointment times that best fit your life, and reach out to the billing team to understand your coverage levels and what money you may owe out-of-pocket. If you leave an appointment and think of important questions after the fact, get in touch with your physician’s nurse or medical assistant rather than waiting until your next appointment. In short, work with a practice that employs top professionals who will provide excellent care all the way around.
Finding the Best Neurosurgeon in New Jersey Begins With You
Before you ever make your first appointment, build the best understanding you can about your case of trigeminal neuralgia and why a Gamma Knife procedure may be the most appropriate treatment. Track your symptoms, note any other issues you may be experiencing, and keep track of the types of prior medical or surgical interventions you have had. All of that information will help the neurosurgeon you eventually choose to proceed with your radiosurgery safely and appropriately. Keep track of the questions and concerns you may have, and discuss your case further with the physicians who have treated you thus far. You should also conduct appropriate research to learn more about trigeminal neuralgia and the forms of treatment that may be recommended.
Once you choose a neurosurgeon who specializes in facial pain disorders, go into your initial consultation with an open mind, a willingness to share and learn, and the knowledge that you have done everything possible to lead to the successful performance of Gamma Knife for trigeminal neuralgia.