Why Trigeminal Neuralgia Is Considered The “Suicide Disease”

Trigeminal neuralgia surgery

There are many different surgical options available to trigeminal neuralgia patients. The success of these depends on the overall health of the patient and any underlying conditions.

  • Balloon compression: Balloon compression injures the nerves in the face that can pick up light touch. This makes a patient less likely to feel pain. Results from this procedure can last up to two years.
  • Glycerol injection: This injection is delivered directly into the trigeminal nerve center in the brain, damaging the protective insulation of the trigeminal nerve fibers. This procedure can be repeated every one or two years as needed.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: This procedure damages the nerve that is causing the pain using an electrical signal. Half of people who have this procedure experience pain again in three or four years.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery: This procedure uses a laser to damage the area where the trigeminal nerve leaves the brain. This cause la lesion to form, blocking pain signals.
  • Neurectomy: This procedure cuts superficial branches of the trigeminal nerve so that they cannot transmit pain to the face. Over time these branches may heal causing pain to return.

Another experimental option for trigeminal neuralgia surgery includes opening the skull and wrapping the trigeminal nerve in Teflon. There is significant risk to this procedure, but for some patients it can be life-saving.

Mayfield Brain and Spine has more in-depth information about trigeminal neuralgia surgery options, including current clinical trial research.

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