Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) patients often suffer from debilitating pain that can inhibit them from enjoying everyday activities. When officially diagnosed with TN, patients are given options for treatment. These options are typically medication, surgery, or other alternatives to medication such as complementary/alternative treatments. Below is a brief description of surgical treatment options for TN.
Microvascular Decompression (MVD)
MVD causes no additional nerve damage and is the most invasive of the surgical options for TN. Although it is the most invasive, it does offer the lowest possibility of pain returning.
This option for surgical treatment is an outpatient procedure. At times, patients can be kept overnight for observation, however. Through using compression of the nerve by a balloon, the procedure aims to injure part of the nerve. In some cases, the procedure may have to be repeated.
Glycerol Injection is another outpatient procedure performed through injecting a needle through the cheek to bathe the nerves in glycerol. Recurrence of pain is possible after a year or two. The procedure can be repeated many times, though.
Similarly to glycerol injections, radiofrequency lesioning is an outpatient procedure where a needle is passed through the cheek.The patient is awakened and a small electric current is passed through the needle. The goal of this is to destroy part of the nerve. Radiofrequency lesioning can be repeated as many times as needed.
This option for surgery is performed through computer imaging to direct highly focused beams of radiation to the site where the nerve exits the brain stem. Essentially, this procedure aims to disrupt the transmission of sensory signals to the brain. Pain relief from this procedure may take several months.
If you suffer from any symptoms of TN, contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor should discuss each treatment option in detail to you. You can also visit the FPA forum and join discussion boards to find out more about treatments. Our community page will provide you with support and education regarding trigeminal neuralgia. For more information, please contact The Facial Pain Association, today!