What Is The Prognosis For Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux is a stabbing inflammatory pain condition that causes severe, erratic, sudden burning or shock-like face pain that lasts anywhere from a few seconds to as long as two minutes per episode. It is considered one of the most painful conditions to affect people and the pain from this disease is reported as sporadic.

Most patients encounter the pain in their jaw, lower face on only one side of the face. Pain is usually caused by a mild stimulation to the face or mouth on the same side as the pain.

What Is The Prognosis For Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Although Trigeminal neuralgia is not a fatal disorder yet their consequences are pretty intolerable and lifelong and this condition can often be disabling in many cases. In some cases, the pain from tic douloureux can disappear on its own without suitable medications and therapies in months to years; however, the condition is usually progressive.

Patients suffering from these symptoms often are prone to mild to intense Trigeminal neuralgia attacks over a period of time. There is no complete recovery for this condition, nevertheless, with proper treatment, the pain can be combatted and the patient can lead their normal lifestyle.

In severe cases, the disorder is characterized by recurrences and remissions, and successive recurrences can disable the patients to participate in daily routines. These patients can seek the aid of the pain management specialist who can help to control their pain to a certain extent 4.

Classification Of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia is classified into two types

  • Trigeminal neuralgia type 1 (TN1)
  • Trigeminal neuralgia type 2 (TN2)

Your healthcare provider or the specialist will conduct a complete assessment before a diagnosis of TN is made and treatment depends on the type of TN. Medical studies were conducted on many cases of TN1 and TN2 condition and the survey shows that both TN1 and TN2 were effectively treated with seizure medicine (carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine were quite effective). Nevertheless, some patients did not respond to the treatment and their symptoms did not combat even after powerful medications or other procedures and the medicine perhaps caused more side effects in these patients. Therefore, surgery was the only option for such cases.1

Surgery To Treat Trigeminal Neuralgia

When the condition no longer responds to medicines, neurologists often consider that surgery can be the recommended option. Recommended surgeries for trigeminal neuralgia are

Alcohol Injection- Peripheral alcohol injections continue to have a role in the management of trigeminal neuralgia. They are particularly useful in those refractory to medical management and in those who are unable or unwilling to undergo neurosurgical treatment.

Balloon Compression- Balloon compression is apparently an effective technique with moderate side effects, technically, it can be conducted instantaneously in treating idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia. Clinical trials showed that percutaneous balloon compression is an operative and safe technique that provided high rates of pain relief in more than 90% of patients in the following 6 months after surgery.2

Glycerol Injection- This is a one treatment option to reduce the pain of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) with an injection (shot) of a chemical called glycerol. It involves injecting a small amount of an antiseptic medicine (glycerol) in the skin (percutaneous layer of the skin) and into the region adjoining the trigeminal nerve to destroy the region of the nerve responsible for producing the symptoms.

Radiofrequency Thermal Rhizotomy- A non-randomized, non-comparative, explanatory, in vivo study of 15 patients with TN were made and the results concluded that patients who were treated using radiofrequency thermal rhizotomy showed excellent and positive results 3.

Conclusion

Trigeminal neuralgia is not fatal. Researches are going on to develop new treatments for pain and nerve damage with the ultimate goal of reversing devastating conditions of the trigeminal neuralgia.

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