Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD. Patient Handout


About Your Diagnosis
Trigeminal neuralgia is a disorder that causes intense, stabbing, “electric shock–like” pain in the areas of the face where the nerve is distributed— jaw, lips, eyes, nose, scalp, forehead, and face. It rarely occurs in patients younger than 50 years, and it is nearly twice as common in women. In most cases the cause is unknown, although some patients have had this disorder after tooth extraction, facial nerve injury, herpes virus infection, or compression from a blood vessel or tumor.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Trigeminal neuralgia can often be relieved with medication. For those patients who do not get adequate relief or who have unacceptable side effects from their medication, there are several surgical options available that may provide partial or complete relief of pain. Many patients learn what the “trigger points” are that cause their pain and learn ways to avoid stimulating these areas that set off the pain.

There are several medications that may be tried independently or in combination to achieve relief of pain. Surgical treatment options are reserved for tumors or blood vessels that press on the trigeminal nerve, or for patients that do not respond to medical treatment. These procedures include noninvasive radiosurgery (focused radiation therapy), treatment of the nerve by injection or electrical stimulation, and open operation for removing pressure on the nerve.

The DOs
• Take your medication as prescribed.
• Keep all scheduled follow-up appointments so that you can be checked for side effects of your medication.
• Report the improvement or worsening of symptoms to your doctor.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t despair. There are many new treatments and support groups available.
• Don’t adjust your medication without your physician’s approval.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If your symptoms do not improve with the medication that you were prescribed.
• If you have any side effects associated with your medication.
• If you have any new symptoms such as double vision, facial weakness, or changes in hearing or balance.

Medical College of Ohio
http://www.neurosurgery-neff.com/Trigeminal Neuralgia.html