All About Trigeminal Neuralgia: The ‘Suicide Disease’
Since trigeminal neuralgia is a progressive disorder that often becomes resistant to medication over time, individuals often seek surgical treatment.
Several neurosurgical procedures are available to treat this condition, depending on the nature of the pain; the individual’s preference, physical health, blood pressure, and previous surgeries; presence of multiple sclerosis, and the distribution of trigeminal nerve involvement.
Some procedures are done on an outpatient basis, while others may involve a more complex operation that is performed under general anesthesia.
Some degree of facial numbness is expected after many of these procedures, and trigeminal neuralgia will often return even if the procedure is initially successful.
A rhizotomy (rhizolysis) is a procedure in which nerve fibers are damaged to block pain. A rhizotomy for trigeminal neuralgia always causes some degree of sensory loss and facial numbness.
All forms of rhizolysis are invasive except stereotatic radiosurgery with success rates ranging from 80-90%.