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Expert, Compassionate Care for Trigeminal Neuralgia

The AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute is a state-of-the art facility for adults and children affected by trigeminal neuralgia. We specialize in minimally invasive treatments that pinpoint constricted blood vessels so that surgeons can alleviate the pressure on the nerve and eliminate the pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia. Recovery times also are shorter, because no incision is made.

Exceptional Trigeminal Neuralgia Care

What if it hurt to smile? What if you were scared to brush your teeth because you knew it would cause you too much pain? When you live with trigeminal neuralgia, these fears are likely part of your daily life. 

At the AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute, we know that a neurovascular disorder like trigeminal neuralgia isn’t just a physical problem. This nerve pain affects your body, mind and spirit. That’s why we pioneer the most innovative treatments available so that you can get back to a joyful life, free of pain. 

We offer minimally invasive treatments for trigeminal nerve pain. A procedure like microvascular decompression can help relieve your discomfort without the risks and downtime associated with traditional surgery. Exceptional outcomes and exceptional care are all part of our compassionate approach to whole-person health, for every person, every time.

About Trigeminal Neuralgia

The trigeminal nerve is the largest of all the cranial nerves. It delivers sensation to your face and helps with daily activities like biting and chewing. However, pressure on this nerve can trigger pain signals all over the face and head. Eating, drinking, smiling, shaving and putting on makeup are just a few of the daily activities that can become extremely uncomfortable if you struggle with trigeminal neuralgia. 

Trigeminal nerve pain can take many forms. One of the most common sensations is a shooting or radiating pain that feels a bit like an electric shock. Many people experience this pain in their cheeks, jaws and teeth. It may last for a few seconds or a few minutes and usually affects one side of the face at a time. Some people may not experience any pain for weeks or months between episodes.  

Other forms of trigeminal nerve pain in the face include:

  • Aching
  • A pins-and-needles sensation
  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Twitching or spasms

These activities or facial muscle movements can trigger episodes of nerve pain:

  • Applying makeup
  • Blowing your nose
  • Brushing your teeth or flossing
  • Drinking hot or cold beverages
  • Shaving your face
  • Smiling and laughing
  • Washing your face

Trigeminal nerve compression is often caused when a vein or artery in the head touches the trigeminal nerve. 

Vascular abnormalities cause veins or arteries to compress the trigeminal nerve. These abnormalities include:  

  • Aneurysm , an enlargement of an artery
  • Arteriovenous malformation , an abnormal tangle of blood vessels
  • Arteriovenous fistula , an abnormal connection between a vein and artery

Other causes can include:

  • Brain lesions
  • Brain tumors
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic head injuries

It’s easy to assume that nerve pain in the face is caused by some kind of dental issue or a sinus disorder. If you experience any forms of nerve pain near your head, neck or face, it’s important to start a conversation with your doctor. 

It’s also a good idea to take notes about the type of pain you’re experiencing, what the specific triggers are and how frequently the pain occurs. All of this information can help your doctor determine if trigeminal neuralgia may be the cause. 

If your doctor suspects you have trigeminal neuralgia, he or she will likely order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to make sure that a tumor is not compressing the nerve. An angiogram, which is a type of X-ray that uses dye to create a map of the body’s blood vessels, is another diagnostic technique that can help your doctor determine if a vascular abnormality is causing your neuralgia. 

Medication is usually the first course of action for treating trigeminal neuralgia. While medication won’t fix blood vessel abnormalities that are the underlying cause of trigeminal nerve compression, it can help reduce the frequency and severity of nerve pain episodes. Anticonvulsive drugs and muscle relaxers are the most common medications used for this purpose. 

Trigeminal Neuralgia Surgery

Some vascular disorders causing trigeminal nerve compression may not need treatment. Treating the symptoms and monitoring the abnormality may be sufficient. However, more serious neurovascular issues like an arteriovenous malformation  or an arteriovenous fistula  can put you at risk for stroke or heart failure. In these cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to treat the nerve compression and reduce the risk of a medical emergency. 

Microvascular Decompression for Trigeminal Neuralgia

Microvascular decompression is a procedure that separates the abnormal blood vessel from the trigeminal nerve. This minimally invasive procedure is extremely effective at relieving nerve pain, facial spasms and other symptoms associated with trigeminal neuralgia. At the AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute, we offer both endoscopic and microscopic microvascular decompression for you and the people you love.

Brain Stereotactic Radiosurgery

If your neuralgia is caused by a brain tumor, your doctor may discuss the option of radiosurgery with you. Radiosurgery uses highly focused beams of radiation to treat tumors in the brain. Also called Gamma Knife® technology, this completely noninvasive technique doesn’t involve a knife, scalpel or any type of incision. The treatment targets tumors with unsurpassed precision. We’re the only medical facility in Central Florida using this leading-edge treatment. 

Trigeminal Neuralgia Guidebook

We are at the forefront of neurological medicine, providing innovative options to treat trigeminal neuralgia, a rare neuropathic disorder. Learn more about this often misdiagnosed condition.

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Unsurpassed Care Coordination, Endless Compassion

We’re with you, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. Your Care Coordinator can explain the minimally invasive treatments for neurovascular conditions and guide you through every stage of care so that you can focus on healing. From education and counseling to treatment and recovery, we’re committed to your whole-person health. 

Meet Your Care Coordinator