Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) happens when the nerve that carries sensation from the forehead, cheeks, jaw and the area around the eyes is compressed. This causes sudden, severe face pain. It usually happens because a blood vessel is pressing on the nerve, though tumors and infections can also cause TGM.



The most common TGM symptom is sharp, stabbing pain in the face. It may also feel like an electric shock, ache or burning sensation. Laughing, talking or even lightly touching the face can trigger it. 

Atypical trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by constant aching, burning or stabbing pain. A person may experience both forms of the pain, sometimes at the same time.


First, you’ll meet with your doctor for a physical exam. You’ll talk about your symptoms and your doctor may order imaging tests, such as an MRI, to rule out other health problems.

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Treatment Options

If you have TGM, your Aurora team, which includes neurologists and neurosurgeons, will work with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Trigeminal neuralgia treatment may include:

  • Medication
  • Ablative therapy, a minimally invasive procedure that destroys certain fibers in the nerve
  • Microvascular decompression, a minimally invasive surgery to stop the blood vessel from pressing on the nerve
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery using CyberKnife®, in which a non-invasive, robotic system delivers high radiation doses to the nerves with pinpoint accuracy
  • Ablative therapy, in which a liquid called glycerol is injected into the nerve to stop it from sending pain signals to the brain

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