Trigeminal neuralgia, also known as tic douloureux, is a condition resulting in severe and often debilitating pain on one side of the patient’s face. Patients may feel extreme shooting/lightening pain on a part of the face, and even the vibration caused by talking may cause pain. Trigeminal neuralgia may come and go, but the longer it remains, the less often is goes away.
Often caused by a blood vessel compressing the trigeminal nerve deep in the skull, trigeminal neuralgia can also be caused by tumors and multiple sclerosis. At times, the cause is unknown.
The treatments for trigeminal neuralgia include glycerol injections, surgical decompression of the problem blood vessel, physical compression of the affected nerve, and gamma knife radiology.
Gamma knife radiosurgery has proven most effective in treating trigeminal neuralgia, because it can target the source of the nerve directly. Patients experience pain relief within a month after the gamma knife procedure.