Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation of trigeminal nerve

Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation is the surgical technique that directs high-frequency heat to the gasserian ganglion of the trigeminal nerve, to burn a particular part of the nerve. The procedure helps in reducing the pain caused by the condition called trigeminal neuralgia. Trigeminal neuroglia is a chronic condition that causes extreme, shock-like pain over one side of the face.

Radiofrequency ablation for Trigeminal neuralgia

Radiofrequency ablation is one of the three surgical interventions (microvascular decompression and Radiosurgery/Gamma knife are the other two procedures) offered to treat patients with trigeminal neuralgia. The initial treatment for patients suffering from Trigeminal neuralgia is medications. If medications don’t work, then the Neurosurgeon might suggest you undergo some surgical procedures like radiofrequency ablation especially in elder aged patients and high risks groups.

Radiofrequency ablation surgery is done under conscious sedation.

X-rays are used to confirm the position of the needle and then the nerve is stimulated to identify the part of the nerve that cause pain. Then, radiofrequency heat is administered to injure the nerve which results in pain relief. Radiofrequency ablation has unique advantages over other methods. It is minimally invasive. Intraoperative sensory and motor tests can be performed. The needle is smaller and therefore less painful. It is a one-day procedure and patients recover well enough to return home the same day.

Pain relief is generally immediate though in some patients it takes a few days.

There is 80-85% chance of acute pain relief after the RFA surgery. But the chance of recurrence is up to 30% in some research studies. Ther other disadvantage is that it produces facial numbness. The treatment needs to be repeated in case of pain recurrence. Generally, the radiofrequency ablation is reserved for elderly patients with co- morbid illnesses who are unfit for surgery. Micro vascular decompression is the first procedure of choice in patients with trigeminal neuralgia, not responding to the medications.

Complications of radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation for trigeminal neuralgia can lead to some complications which may involve

If you are diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia and your neurosurgeon has advised you to undergo percutaneous radiofrequency ablation surgery, then   get a second opinion  from another Neurosurgeon in dubai  to learn about other treatment options before undergoing this procedure.

Dr. Arun Rajeswaran

Consult Dr. Arun with a professional experience of more than 13 years in the field of Neurosurgery

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