Local man says "Gamma Knife" therapy used by local doctors changed his life
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Imagine stepping outside and feeling the wind on your face, or taking a shower and feeling the water, only instead of it feeling good, it burns.
Dieter Hans Schuchhardt knows what that feels like. A team at Mayfield Brain and Spine are using what's called the “Gamma Knife” to treat this condition at Mercy Health Jewish Hospital.
It's called “Trigeminal Neuralgia” or TN.
Schuchhardt says he does not want patients to have to live with the kind of pain he felt for years.
“I had the pain from the center of my head, going down… I couldn't chew, I couldn’t do anything and I was really hurting, and I cried, and this was just excruciating,” said Schuchhardt.
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a condition that impacts thousands of people every year.
"The triggers for it can be wind, air conditioning eating brushing teeth, shaving, these common things you take for granted can trigger extreme pain that can last for hours or days," said
Dieter chose to treat his TN by radiating what appears to be the precise nerve causing the pain.
"We speculate that there's a short circuit within the nerve, the fibers are cross-talking and that's leading to this phantom pain," said Dr. Ronald Warnick of Mayfield Brain and Spine, who delivers that radiation to the nerve through what's called the "Gamma Knife Icon."
"It causes inflammation, which then somehow reverses the short circuit we have in the Trigeminal nerve," said Dr. Warnick.
"Greatest thing I've ever done, I don't know if I would be alive today if it wouldn't be for that," said Schuchhardt.
"It's so miserable for patients that some of them become depressed and even consider a suicide," said Dr. Warnick.
Now, years later, not only is there joy in living again for Dieter, he's now living pain-free.