Celebrating Life’s Milestones Pain-Free

“I was completely free of pain less than three months after the procedure.”

Lois Santarsiero woke one morning in and felt pain down one side of her head. The pain felt like electric shocks when she touched four spots on her face. The then 78-year-old Lois was diagnosed by her primary care physician with trigeminal neuralgia.


Lois's Story

“The doctor prescribed two different medications, first was Carbamazepine and then Hydrocodone and neither was effective in reducing the pain and also had a nauseating effect,” the Scranton, PA, resident says.

The condition affected Lois’ everyday life because she was in so much pain all of the time. “I had to be very careful not to have anything contact the right side of my face. Simple tasks like shampooing my hair, washing my face and brushing my teeth were painful.”

Realizing his wife could not go on living in constant pain, Lois’ husband Joe researched alternative treatment options for the condition, and after viewing a video featuring neurosurgeon and Valley’s Hospital’s Gamma Knife Center Co-Director Anthony D’Ambrosio, MD, they decided to get a consult with him and radiation oncologist Michael Wesson, MD. The doctors agreed Lois could benefit from Gamma Knife treatment and she underwent the procedure.

“I was completely free of pain less than three months after the procedure,” Lois explains. “Neither us or the doctors know for sure what caused the condition, but they feel a nerve may have lost its protective coating. Regardless of the cause, I felt like me again in a short period of time thanks to the skilled doctors at the Center.”

Since the Gamma Knife procedure, Lois and Joe’s quality time has gotten much better. The Santarsiero’s six children organized a 60th wedding anniversary party for their parents. Family and friends came from all over to celebrate and they had a wonderful time. “This was such an important celebration for us,” says Lois. “If I were in pain, it would have been difficult to enjoy myself.”

The Santarsiero’s cannot say enough about the staff at the Gamma Knife Center. “This is a first-class center,” says Joe. “From our first visit through our follow-up appointments, we were greeted with warmth and professionalism and we always felt comfortable, like we were part of their family. For anyone dealing with trigeminal neuralgia, there is help, and it’s at Valley Hospital’s Gamma Knife Center.”

Valley’s Gamma Knife Center opened in 2011 and hundreds of patients have been treated. Gamma knife treatment is a form of stereotactic radiosurgery. It provides a noninvasive, outpatient treatment option to patients with conditions that would typically require surgery or whole brain radiation, such as noncancerous and cancerous tumors, blood vessel abnormalities and nerve problems, such as trigeminal neuralgia. Valley’s Gamma Knife Center offers another important distinction: the availability of experienced nurse navigators to answer patients’ questions and guide them through every step in the treatment process.

* This procedure may not be suitable for every patient. All patients must be evaluated by a physician as to the appropriateness of performing the procedure. The above testimonial represents the individual’s response and reaction to the procedure; however, no medical procedure is risk-free. Associated potential risks and complications should be discussed with the physician rendering this procedure.