Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition where the individual experiences intermittent electric shock-like, shooting pain in the face. We have one trigeminal nerve on each side of the face but in trigeminal neuralgia pain affects only one side most of the time. The pain attacks are usually triggered by eating, drinking, chewing, shaving, brushing, and sometimes even touching the face. This pain usually lasts a few seconds to minutes. It is also known as Tic douloureux which means painful tic which is treated with surgery.

Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia mostly occurs spontaneously but sometimes is associated with facial trauma and dental procedures. This condition is caused by a blood vessel pressing against the trigeminal nerve, also known as vascular compression. Multiple sclerosis or a tumor while rare can also cause this condition. .

Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia occurs more often in women as compared to men and in older age people (50 years age or above) and occurs more on the right side than the left. It doesn’t usually run in the family. 

Some of the symptoms are-

Treatment for Trigeminal neuralgia

There are various treatment options which are discussed below-


Most of the patients get better with medications like carbamazepine, gabapentin, and similar agents. But over a period of time, the effect gradually wears off. When the medications fail, you have to consult a Neurosurgeon in Abu Dhabi who may offer one of the three types of further advanced management

Percutaneous Rhizotomy

There are several types of rhizotomies for trigeminal neuralgia, which are all-day care procedures performed under local anesthesia in the operating room. Rhizotomy provides relief to 70- 80% of the patients but there is a good chance of recurrence. It is a recommended surgical treatment for patients with this condition resulting from multiple sclerosis. It is a minimally invasive surgery and can be repeated safely, and pain can come back due to the progression of MS.

Microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery

MVD is the most long-lasting trigeminal neuralgia treatment which is caused by blood vessel compression and helps about 80-90% of the patients diagnosed. It is suitable for people in good health who can tolerate the surgery and general anesthesia with a recovery period of one to two weeks.

Stereotactic radiosurgery

Stereotactic radiosurgery also known as CyberKnife or gamma knife treatment surgery is another outpatient treatment done to treat this condition. A very concentrated beam of radiation is used on the trigeminal nerve to relieve pain and MRI and CT scan are done to locate the exact position of the trigeminal nerve. It is a painless surgery and is usually done without anesthesia.


Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic painful condition producing intermittent shooting facial pain. It is not continuous or aching pain. Usually, it responds to medicine initially. But when the first medicine fails to control the pain or if there are severe side effects from the medicines, you should consult a  Neurosurgeon in Dubai. Your Neurosurgeon may offer several options for further treatment. There is a risk of recurrence for all the surgery procedures, but it is the least for microvascular decompression, which is usually the first choice of surgical management in fit people.

If you have been advised any of the surgical procedures and you are unsure whether to go ahead or not, please feel free to get a second opinion with trigeminal neuralgia surgeon.

Conditions Treated By the Best Neurosurgeon in Abu Dhabi (UAE)

Dr. Arun Rajeswaran

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

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