If you’ve been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve in the face, the first line of treatment your doctor may recommend is medication.
In many cases, medication is very effective and will allow you to better control your facial pain for long periods of time. However, if you are having a worsening of pain, or if the duration of the pain is increasing, even after trying different medications, surgery may be a more effective treatment for you.
One type of surgical treatment for trigeminal neuralgia is microvascular decompression. This is an inpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia. A small opening behind the ear will be made, allowing a view of the trigeminal nerve through a microscope. Your neurosurgeon will then move the blood vessels that are compressing the nerve and place a soft cushion between the nerve and the vessels.