Regenerative Spine and Pain Institute

Trigeminal Nerve Block

man having trigeminal ganglion block

A trigeminal nerve block is an injection of medication that helps relieve facial pain. It’s used to treat such as Trigeminal neuralgia Herpes and Zoster infection (or “shingles”) affecting the face.

Trigeminal nerves are responsible for sensations in your face and for helping you bite, chew and swallow. Blocking these nerves can relieve you from feeling facial pain.

Type: Pain related to trigeminal neuralgia is sudden, shock-like and brief.

Location: The parts of your face that are affected by pain will tell your doctor if the trigeminal nerve is involved.

Triggers: Trigeminal neuralgia-related pain usually is brought on by light stimulation of your cheeks, such as from eating, talking or even encountering a cool breeze.



Treatment

Trigeminal neuralgia treatment typically starts with taking oral medications. However, some people with the condition may stop responding to medications because their body is already used to the medicine, or they may experience undesired side effects. For those people, injections or surgery provide other trigeminal neuralgia treatment options.

  • Medications

    To treat trigeminal neuralgia, your doctor usually will prescribe pain management medications to lessen or block the pain signals sent to your brain.

    • Anticonvulsants

      Examples would be Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol) for trigeminal neuralgia. Other anticonvulsant drugs that may be used to treat trigeminal neuralgia include Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) and Phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek).

    • Antispasmodic agents

      Muscle-relaxing agents such as baclofen (Gablofen, Lioresal) may be used alone or in combination with carbamazepine.

  • Surgery

    Surgical options for trigeminal neuralgia includes

    • Microvascular Decompression

      To stop the nerve from malfunctioning, the procedure requires relocating or removing blood vessels that are in contact with the affected trigeminal root. During microvascular decompression, your doctor makes an incision behind the ear on the side of your pain. After, through a small hole in your skull, your surgeon moves any arteries that are in contact with the trigeminal nerve away from the nerve and places a soft cushion between the nerve and the arteries.

      Most of the time, Microvascular decompression can successfully eliminate or reduce pain but some patients may experience recurring pain.

    • Brain stereotactic radiosurgery (Gamma knife)

      A surgeon directs a focused dose of radiation to the root of your trigeminal nerve. To reduce or eliminate the pain, this procedure uses radiation to damage the trigeminal nerve.

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