Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a painful illness affecting the fifth cranial nerve, which gets its name (trigeminal) from its division into three main branches:

• V1: Ophthalmic nerve (Nervus ophthalmicus)

• V2: Maxillary nerve (Nervus maxillaris)

• V3: Mandibular nerve (Nervus mandibularis)

The trigeminal nerve supplies the face and part of the tongue with feeling, but it is not responsible for the facial muscles. The nerve originates inside the brain itself, and reaches the face via a small opening in the skull (foramen). On its path to the skin, it must pass through narrow bone passages several times.

Injuries such as tooth extractions, broken jaws, inflammation such as sinusitis, or ossification can bring about these often terrible pains. Speaking, chewing, touching the skin of the face, or just a draught on the face are enough to cause pain. The pain may be burning, pulling or throbbing, and makes patients despair. It is not rare for them to contemplate suicide.

The therapy is meant to target the source. The nerve can be found at its source in the brain, on the assumption that an artery is irritating the nerve, an operation is carried out that is named after a doctor (Jeanetta), and other operations are carried out such as heating, alcohol infiltration or pulsed radiofrequency treatment at the trigeminal ganglion – the nerve bundle. Before taking this risky step, therapies involving medicine for epilepsy, pain and cramps are used, in addition to physical measures. There are further treatment methods involving angioplasties and electronic sensors that are implanted under the skin.

While we do not offer all treatment methods ourselves, we are more than happy to advise you on further options.