Cranial Nerve Decompression

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a complicated condition causing lightening-like facial pain which can often be disabling for the patient.  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.  We offer two surgical options to relieve the pressure on this nerve and alleviate the constant sharp pains associated with the disorder. 

  • 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 term, with patients returning to normal activity within a month.
  • Balloon Decompression – this procedure consists of a needle being inserted into the skull base while the patient is sedated. Then, your doctor threads a thin, flexible tube (catheter) with a balloon on the end through the needle and inflates the balloon with enough pressure to damage the trigeminal nerve and block pain signals. While this procedure is effective in eliminating the pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia, the duration is often between 2-4 years and may need to be repeated. 

Whichever treatment option you choose, our team will partner with you and your physician to ensure it’s the right fit for your unique care needs.