- Neurectomy involves removing a part of the trigeminal nerve. Much like MVD, this too is an invasive procedure and is reserved for patients who do no respond to other treatments. Neurectomies are often performed when a blood vessel is not found pressing on the nerve during an MVD. During the procedure, different portions of the trigeminal nerve’s branches are removed thus allowing pain relief.
- Radiofrequency Thermal Lesioning. Radiofrequency thermal lesioning (or RF ablation) has been shown to offer pain relief up to 3 to 4 years following the procedure in about half of patients. RF Ablation is an outpatient procedure where a needle with an electrode is inserted into the trigeminal nerve. Once the area of the nerve that causes the pain is located, your doctor sends small electrical pulses through the electrode to damage the nerve fibers, resulting in numbing of the site.
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery (or Gamma Knife). Most patients who undergo gamma knife report pain relief after a few weeks or months, but pain often reoccurs within three years. This procedure uses computer imaging to send focused radiation to the trigeminal nerve. During the procedure, the radiation creates a laceration of the trigeminal nerve, which disturbs sensory signals to the brain and reduces pain. A gamma knife procedure is typically an outpatient procedure where patients can leave the same day.
Pain Relief Through Holistic Approaches
More and more doctors and patients are looking towards more conservative and noninvasive approaches for treating pain condition, trigeminal neuralgia included. Although the data in these approaches is mixed, you and your doctor can decide if you would benefit from one of them. Always make your doctor aware if you do consider trying one of these approaches.