What is trigeminal neuralgia? 

Trigeminal neuralgia is a complicated condition causing sharp, quick and intense facial pain, which can often be disabling.  While this condition can initially be managed with medication, the cause is often a vessel in the brain pressing down on the fifth – or trigeminal – nerve. At Guthrie, our surgeons can offer you hope for relief.   

How is a trigeminal neuralgia treated? 

We offer two surgical options to relieve the pressure on the nerve.  

  • Microvascular Decompression (MVD) – a surgical procedure where a piece of Teflon is placed between the nerve and the blood vessel causing the compression.  This is a permanent way to correct the condition and recovery is typically short, with patients returning to normal activity within a month. 
  • Balloon Decompression – while you are sedated, a needle is inserted into the skull base. A thin, flexible tube (catheter) with a balloon on the end is threaded through the needle.  The balloon is inflated with enough pressure to damage the trigeminal nerve and block pain signals.  This procedure is not permanent. Its effects last between two to four years, so the procedure may need to be repeated.  

Our team will partner with you and your physician to ensure the procedure is the right fit for you.  

Guthrie neurosurgery offers the latest treatment options for brain tumors, cerebrovascular disease, spine surgery, neuro-oncology and stroke.