Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia causes intense, stabbing pain throughout the face. Attacks can be sudden, come without warning, and make it difficult or impossible to perform normal activities. 

AHN neurosurgeons are experts in minimally invasive treatments for this debilitating disorder.

What is trigeminal neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia is a cranial nerve disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensations from your face to your brain. Patients experience intense, stabbing pain throughout the face. Because the pain can occur so suddenly, without warning, and be so severe, many sufferers experience a poor quality of life.

Symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia

Patients experience intense, stabbing pain in the forehead, jaw, scalp, lips, nose, and eyes. The pain can last anywhere from seconds to minutes. Sometimes even mild stimulation from everyday activities like eating, brushing teeth, shaving, or applying makeup can trigger a painful attack.

Trigeminal neuralgia care at AHN: Why choose us?

 Pioneered in part by Hae-Dong Jho, MD, PhD, and the late Peter Jannetta, MD, microvascular decompression procedures are now the gold standard in treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. The AHN Neuroscience Institute focuses on the treatment of cranial nerve disorders and provides you with comprehensive care that addresses your unique medical situation, pain, and psychological well-being.

How we diagnose trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is not easy to diagnose. Neurologic tests and physical examinations of the skull and face often reveal no abnormalities. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may reveal whether a tumor or multiple sclerosis is irritating the nerve. However, if they’re not the cause, we usually diagnose based on your reported symptoms. 

How we treat trigeminal neuralgia

Our AHN neurosurgeons will work with you to determine the best approach to treatment based on your unique conditions, which may include: 

  • Minimally invasive microvascular decompression. Pioneered by AHN neurosurgeons, this procedure has become the gold standard treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. It involves relocating or removing blood vessels that are in contact with the trigeminal root by placing a pad between the nerve and the arteries. Many patients experience immediate relief. 
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery. This procedure directs a single, precisely focused dose of radiation to the root of your trigeminal nerve without surgery. Patients typically experience gradual relief.

Contact us

Call (412) 359-6200 to schedule an appointment or learn more about treatment.