Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia


Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia

If you feel having intense electric shock-like pain in the lower part of the face and jaw or sometimes around the nose and above the eye, chances are you are suffering from trigeminal neuralgia (TN).

TN is an irritation of the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from your face to your brain. It occurs mainly in women and people older than 50. The pain can be triggered by routine actions like brushing your teeth, putting on makeup, or eating, which can make you want to visit a dentist, dermatologist, or an eye specialist.

Often mistaken as skin, teeth, or eye problem, the actual cause of the pain is left undiscovered or even worse, mistreated. The best solution is to consult an experienced pain physician and have a proper diagnosis. 

Effective treatments available for Trigeminal Neuralgia are as follows:

  1. Medical Treatment

Your doctor may prescribe a combination of different types of anticonvulsants for pain reduction and antispasmodic agents for muscle relaxing. The dosage of medicines depends on the severity of symptoms in patients. Though these medicines possess a degree of side effects, medical treatment is the first and foremost choice to treat facial pain.

  1. Balloon Compression

It is a minimally invasive technique, evolved in the early 80s. The main aim of this procedure is to compress the trigeminal nerve that carries pain signals to the brain, which leads to blocking the pain signals.

Performed under local anaesthesia, the doctor inserts a hollow needle through your cheek into the trigeminal nerve. With the help of a flexible tube (catheter), a balloon is placed at the further end. The balloon is then inflated for about 1.5 minutes which puts pressure on the nerve, hence destroys it.

It alleviates pain for a longer duration of time, involving low risks or side effects.

  1. Glycerol rhizolysis

Another minimally invasive technique that offers a safe and fast approach to treat trigeminal neuralgia. The goal is to damage the nerve with sterile glycerol.

A needle is inserted through your cheek and guided towards the trigeminal nerve ganglion, where the nerve is divided into three parts. The doctor then inserts a small amount of sterile glycerol which destroys the nerve.

Glycerol rhizolysis provides instant pain relief and possess low risks.

  1. Radiofrequency ablation

It is one of the most effective and common minimally invasive technique to treat trigeminal neuralgia. The trigeminal nerve is destroyed with the help of a heating current.

The doctor passes an electrode through the cheek that carries a high-frequency current. The current thus produces heat, which destroys the trigeminal nerve with utmost precision.

It provides lasting pain relief, is reliable, and causes few side effects. Although, a degree of facial numbness is an expected outcome.

  1. Gamma Knife

This treatment is least invasive, thus avoids the risks of open surgery. The trigeminal nerve is damaged with the help of a high dose of ionizing radiation. 

Highly concentrated ionizing radiation is precisely targeted to the root of your trigeminal nerve. Thus, destroying it. The exposed radiation to the nerve results in the formation of a wound in the nerve over a period of time, which disrupts its function.

  1. Microvascular Decompression

It is an open surgery that involves relocating or removing any blood vessels or arteries that are compressing the trigeminal nerve and placing a soft cushion between them.

The incision is made behind the ear on the side of your pain. Through the hole, arteries are moved and a cushion is placed that relieves the nerve from any compression. This allows the nerve to recover and thus settling into a pain-free condition.

Open surgery involves high risks and side effects. Thus, it should only be considered if indispensable.

Various treatments are available for Trigeminal Neuralgia . Though, the most suitable treatment for you can only be advised after a proper prognosis. Trigeminal neuralgia treatment guidelines Visit the clinic and consult our experts for any doubt or to gather more information.