The trigeminal nerve carries sensory signals from the face to the brain. Trigeminal neuralgia is an extremely painful condition in which patients experience severe, sudden, shock-like pain on one side of the face that lasts for seconds to hours. Oral medications are successful in 80% of cases. As a result, fully one-in-five patients do not achieve successful pain relief. The situation for patients suffering from facial pain is complicated by frequent misdiagnosis and mistreatment. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that the failure to accurately diagnose and successfully treat trigeminal neuralgia in a timely fashion allows the condition to worsen and become more difficult to treat.
At Michigan Medicine, functional neurosurgeons, neurologists, and pain specialists work together to accurately diagnose and to effectively treat trigeminal neuralgia and other facial pain conditions, such as facial pain due to multiple sclerosis or nerve injury. Our specialists use a combination of medical, neuromodulation, ablative and corrective surgical techniques to treat facial pain. In addition, researchers at University of Michigan have developed novel MRI imaging protocols to help to identify which patients will benefit most from functional neurosurgery for facial pain.