Persistent facial pain following microvascular decompression of the trigeminal nerve

M. K. Hunn, P. R. Eldridge, J. B. Miles, B. West

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Pain in the face following microvascular decompression (MVD) can be due to persisting trigeminal neuralgia (TGN) or a variety of other facial pain syndromes. If magnetic resonance tomoangiography (MRTA) indicates continuing vascular compression and the patient has true persistent TGN, then the patient can be relieved of pain by repeating the MVD. When the MRTA is negative for continuing compression alternative techniques may be employed; section of the nerve at the pens may be the treatment of choice for true persistent TGN in the absence of neurovascular compression. In some cases the pain is dysaesthetic in nature and not persistent TGN. This is always associated with previous destructive lesions to the nerve, usually radio-frequency thermocoagulation. When this component to the pain is recognized pre-operatively the patient must be warned not to expect relief of this same component of the pain from MVD. When it is not possible to classify the facial pain clinically, improvement does not occur following MVD even when there is clear evidence of vascular compression on MRTA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Neurosurgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Microvascular decompression
  • Trigeminal neuralgiamagnetic

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