Trigeminal Neuralgia Specialist

CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine -  - Neurosurgery

CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine

Neurosurgery located in Greenwood Village, CO & Englewood, CO

An electric shock-type pain that comes from nowhere and strikes the side of your face could be trigeminal neuralgia. If you’re experiencing pain like this, the surgeons at CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine can help. They offer medications and minimally invasive procedures, including rhizotomy, stereotactic radiosurgery, and microvascular decompression, to treat trigeminal neuralgia. The practice has nine locations in Colorado, including Lone Tree, Englewood, Castle Rock, Denver, Wheat Ridge, Colorado Springs, Parker, Yuma, and Lamar. To book an appointment, call the office nearest you today.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Q & A

What is trigeminal neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia, also known as tic douloureux, is a condition that causes sudden attacks of severe facial pain. This burning or electric shock-like pain comes from the trigeminal nerve.

The sudden and extreme facial pain typical of trigeminal neuralgia could last just a couple of seconds or may continue for several minutes. The pain usually disappears as quickly as it arrives, but you might experience several attacks a day.

Trigeminal neuralgia pain most often affects one side of your face. It tends to be worse in the jaw area but may spread into your cheek, ear, nose, eye, and forehead, as well as your teeth, gums, lips, tongue, and throat.

What triggers trigeminal neuralgia pain?

It’s very often everyday actions that trigger an attack of trigeminal neuralgia pain, for example:

  • Brushing your teeth
  • Talking
  • Smiling
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Touching your face
  • Washing or shaving your face

The longer you suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, the worse your pain is likely to become. Attacks may also occur more often and last longer.

What is the cause of trigeminal neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia results from a fault in the trigeminal nerve that makes it transmit pain signals to your brain without good reason. Research indicates that the root cause is deterioration in the insulating tissue protecting the nerve that makes the nerve malfunction.

CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine sees trigeminal neuralgia in patients with a tumor or other mass pressing on the trigeminal nerve. Even pressure from an artery or vein could trigger the condition.

Your risk of experiencing trigeminal neuralgia is higher if you have an inflammatory lesion, infection, or multiple sclerosis.

What treatments are there for trigeminal neuralgia?

Many patients find that anticonvulsant medication effectively relieves the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia. if medication doesn’t work or your condition worsens, other options include:

Percutaneous rhizotomy

Rhizotomy is a minimally invasive procedure. Your provider uses an injection of glycerol,  balloon compression, or radiofrequency ablation to destroy the nerve fibers responsible for your pain.

Gamma knife surgery

The Gamma knife is a non-invasive stereotactic radiosurgery procedure that directs focused radiation at the trigeminal nerve to reduce pain.

Microvascular decompression

This is a surgical procedure in which your provider removes or relocates blood vessels that are pressing on your trigeminal nerve.

If you’re experiencing excruciating facial pain, CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine can help. Schedule a consultation by phone.