Trigeminal Neuralgia, Treatment is possible

What is Trigeminal neuralgia?

It is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from your face to your brain. If you have trigeminal neuralgia, even mild stimulation of your face, may trigger a jolt of excruciating pain.

People who have this condition say the pain might feel like an electric shock, and it can sometimes be intense.

Each trigeminal nerve splits into three branches, controlling the feeling for different parts of your face. They are:

Symptoms:

Trigeminal neuralgia symptoms may include:

Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia

In many cases, the cause of Trigeminal Neuralgia is never found. However, known causes include:

Treatments:

The diagnostic is done through neurological examination or MRI before deciding the suitable treatment. Treatments include:

Medication

Medication can provide relief from pain and reduce the number of attacks. The first form of treatment is typically anti-seizure medications, which are drugs that block nerve firing. Some other second-line or adjunctive medications include muscle relaxants and tricyclic antidepressants.

Surgery

Sometimes this pain does not respond to any medication, in those cases, surgery may be an option. Common surgical procedures used to treat this include:

Glycerol Injections

During this procedure, you will be heavily sedated and receive local anesthesia. Your doctor will insert a needle through your cheek and into the base of your skull. The needle is guided by X-ray to a small sac of spinal fluid that surrounds the root of the trigeminal nerve. Once the needle is in place, a small amount of sterile glycerol is released. The glycerol may block the nerve’s ability to transmit signals related to pain. The procedure typically takes only a few minutes to complete and you can go home the same day.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

This procedure uses computer imaging to deliver highly focused beams of radiation to the root of the nerve. This procedure is painless and is usually performed without anesthesia.

Radiofrequency Thermal Lesioning

This outpatient procedure is performed under general anesthesia and uses a long, hollow needle to guide an electrical current to the trigeminal nerve. You will be awake during the procedure to assist your doctor in identifying the exact location of the origin of the pain. Once the site of the pain is identified, the electrode is heated and it destroys the nerve.

Gamma-Knife Radiosurgery

This is an outpatient procedure that uses a targeted approach for delivery of radiation that destroys

the trigeminal nerve. It’s growing in popularity because of its precision, effectiveness, and the fact that it’s considered safer than other surgical treatments and is the least invasive option.

Microvascular Decompression

This is a major medical procedure that involves brain surgery. The procedure works by relieving pressure from the affected nerves and allowing them to heal. Studies have shown 90 percent of patients report pain relief.