Trigeminal neuralgia is an uncommon nerve condition that causes pain in the face. It causes extreme pain in the face, which many characterize as a spraying bullets-like discomfort in the jaw, teeth, and other facial areas. While discomfort is usually concentrated in the lower face and jaw, it can also affect other parts of the face, such as around the nose and above the eyes.
The frequency of TN is assessed to be 107.5 men and 200.2 females per million people. It is more frequent in females (62%) than in males (38%)— a female-to-male ratio of 1.6: 1. As a result, females are more likely than males to be diagnosed with TN, and the risk increases with age.
This article defines trigeminal neuralgia and describes its symptoms, treatment, diagnosis, and causes. Continue reading —
Trigeminal Neuralgia Symptoms
TN discomfort can manifest itself as intense spasms that resemble electric shocks. Pain can be triggered by sound or touch and is usually felt only on one side of the face. Daily activities like brushing, touching the face, shaving, or even eating and drinking can trigger pain. You might feel pain for a few seconds or minutes at a time. A series of assaults might span days, weeks, or months, with intervals of remission in between. The illness can worsen, with bouts becoming more severe and frequent over time. In certain circumstances, the pain or ache persists.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Causes
There are two kinds of TN: primary TN and secondary TN. The specific etiology of TN is unknown, however, the discomfort attributed to it is caused by nerve irritation. The pressure of the nerve, generally at the base of the skull where the brain joins the spinal cord, has been associated with primary trigeminal neuralgia. A healthy artery interacting with the trigeminal nerve at the temporal lobe of the brain puts pressure on the nerve when it reaches the brain, causing it to malfunction. Meanwhile, secondary TN is induced by nerve stress exerted by a tumor, MS, a cyst, a face injury, or the other clinical factors that can impact the myelin sheaths.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Diagnosis
There is no single test that your doctor can request to assist in the diagnosis of TN. The doctor first reviews the medical history, then performs a physical examination. After this, a neurological test is conducted to see whether a section of the trigeminal nerve is damaged. The doctor will touch various portions of your face to pinpoint the source of your pain. Then, conduct tests to rule out other disorders with comparable symptoms. Doctors may also request an MRI of your head to detect multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment
1. Medication (Non-Surgical)
Anti-seizure medications are often used as the first line of treatment to minimize the frequency of bouts and relieve pain. The second-line or supplementary drugs include muscle relaxants and tricyclic antidepressants.
Doctors resort to surgical treatment when the pain is no longer treatable with medications. Surgery may be a possibility in these circumstances. The following are some of the most prevalent surgical treatments performed to treat TN. By surgery, you can easily get a trigeminal neuralgia treatment.
3. Microvascular Decompression
This is a serious medical operation that necessitates brain surgery. The technique relieves pressure on the damaged nerves, allowing them to recover. According to studies, 90% of patients experience pain reduction.
4. Glycerol Injections
Patients are sedated and given local anesthetic throughout the treatment procedure. A needle is inserted through the cheek and into the base of the skull. Then, X-rays lead the needle to a tiny sac of spinal fluid surrounding the root of the trigeminal nerve. A small amount of sterile glycerol is discharged after the needle is in position. The glycerol inhibits the nerve’s capability to generate pain receptors. The operation usually only takes a few minutes and patients can go home the same day.
5. Stereotactic Radiosurgery
This treatment uses computer imaging to send highly concentrated beams of radiation to the nerve’s root. This treatment is painless and generally carried out without the need for an anesthetic.
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6. Radiofrequency Lesioning
This ambulatory technique guides radio waves to the trigeminal nerve. The procedure happens under general anesthesia where patients are awake and assisting the doctor in pinpointing the exact source of their pain. Once the source of the discomfort has been discovered, the electrode is heated and the nerve is destroyed.
7. Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
This is an ambulatory operation in which radiation that kills the trigeminal nerve is delivered in a specific manner. Its prevalence is expanding due to its accuracy, reliability, and the fact that it is regarded as safer than other surgical treatments and is the most minimal intrusive choice.
Your doctor can best help you select which treatment choice is appropriate for you after considering your symptoms, medical history, and personal preferences.
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