Targeted radiation, fewer treatments.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

For most patients with trigeminal neuralgia, the CyberKnife® treatment process follows the steps explained here. The length of the treatment process will depend on your condition, your schedule and the schedules of the CyberKnife team.

Some of the steps can be performed on the same day. Your doctor or nurse will go over these steps in detail with you.

Step 1: Gathering your medical information

Prior to scheduling an appointment at the HealthEast CyberKnife Center, we will copies of need your medical records. Your help in gathering necessary medical information will speed up the process. Past CT or MRI films and previous radiation therapy records are especially helpful in determining if CyberKnife is right for you.

During this step of the process you will work (over the phone) with a CyberKnife nurse and clinic assistant.

It's important to bring an updated medication list with you to each appointment if there are any changes to any medications you are taking.

Step 2: Consulting with a CyberKnife physician

During your first visit to the CyberKnife Center, you will meet with a nurse, radiation oncologist and surgeon. We will review your situation and determine if you are a candidate for CyberKnife.

This is your time to ask questions and share concerns. If you are a candidate for CyberKnife, we will go through the pros and cons of treatment and discuss what to expect.

  • Where do I go? CyberKnife Center at St. Joseph's Hospital
  • How long will it take? Please allow up to 4 hours for this visit

St. Joseph's Hospital

Exceptional care in the heart of downtown St. Paul.

Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1853, St. Joseph's is proud to hold the distinction as Minnesota's first hospital.

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Step 3: Face mask, Cisternogram and CT Scan

After you see your physicians on the day of your consultation, our scheduler will meet with you and set up your next appointment. During this visit we will make the flexible mesh face mask that you will wear to help minimize movement during CyberKnife treatment. Creating the mask is a simple and painless process.

A CyberKnife radiation therapist will then accompany you to the radiology department where you will have cisternogram and a CT scan. A cisternogram is a scan that uses a small amount of dye to help visualize the path of the fluid in the spinal cord and around the brain. You will be monitored for four hours after the dye is administered.

Before you leave, you will be given prescriptions for medications to be taken at treatment time.

  • Where do I go? CyberKnife Center at St. Joseph's Hospital
  • How long will it take? Up to 6 hours

Step 4: Planning

When your planning scans are finished, the physicians will review them in great detail to plan your CyberKnife treatment. Once the physicians have finished their work, the physics department will finish the treatment planning.

This step may take a few weeks. You do not need to be present during this part of the process.  Once your treatment plan is completed, a CyberKnife nurse will contact you to with the dates and times of your treatments.

Step 5: Treatment

At this appointment, we'll begin CyberKnife treatment.
As you're preparing, keep in mind:

  • You'll need to have someone drive you to and from the hospital. This is because you will be given a mild sedative to help you relax and make you comfortable during treatment. You should not drive until the next day.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and no jewelry.
  • There are no eating or drinking restrictions prior to treatment.
  • Please bring music or audio book (CD or tape) to listen to during your treatment.

As always, feel free to bring a list of questions to ask the CyberKnife team. They are there to ensure your comfort and safety.

It is common to be nervous before treatment, but keep in mind that CyberKnife is a painless procedure. Wearing your mesh facemask, you'll lie on a table. You will be awake throughout the entire procedure. The time required for treatment depends on the complexity of your tumor.

During treatment, the CyberKnife system will periodically take x-ray images and compare them to data from the CT/MRI scan to ensure the radiation is accurately targeting the tumor.

After treatment, you'll be free to go. Many patients feel good enough to resume daily activities right away.

  • Where do I go? CyberKnife Center at St. Joseph's Hospital 
  • How long will it take? Each treatment appointment usually lasts 1 to 2 hours. Your doctor will determine how many treatments you will need.

Step 6: Follow-up

After your CyberKnife treatments, follow-up imaging and doctor's visits will be required to monitor your progress. This will be discussed with you at the time of treatment.