Trigeminal Neuralgia Surgery
Neuralgias are progressive diseases causing facial pain that worsens over time. At Henry Ford Health, you have access to a distinct level of care. Our team of specialists delivers the full range of surgical therapies, including options that are not widely available. We have helped people who have been in pain for years achieve lasting symptom relief.
Facial pain conditions we treat using surgery
Neuralgias are conditions that occur when the nerves providing sensation to your face experience injuries or irritation. Find out more about the type of facial pain we treat.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a common cause of facial pain. We also care for people with rare neuralgias, including:
- Deafferentation pain: Constant pain that occurs after a nerve injury, stroke or dental procedure
- Geniculate neuralgia: Severe, deep ear pain
- Glossopharyngeal neuralgia: Extreme pain in the back of the throat, tongue or ear triggered by swallowing
- Sphenopalatine ganglion neuralgia: Pain near the eyes or in the nasal passages — you may also feel it in your upper jaw
- Superior laryngeal neuralgia: Rare condition causing pain in the ear eye and throat, and affecting the ability to speak
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction: Pain near the ear and jaw that gets worse with chewing
- Trigeminal neuralgia: Facial pain that stems from problems with the trigeminal nerve
Trigeminal neuralgia surgery and other facial pain procedures at Henry Ford
Highly skilled neurosurgeons with decades of experience deliver your care. We perform some of the highest volumes of neuralgia surgery in the region leading to precise care. These capabilities are some of the reasons patients from across Michigan and nearby states put their trust in our team. Meet our neurosurgeons.
Highlights of our program include:
- Easy access: Neuralgia symptoms are often severe and can make you feel as if there’s no end in sight. This is why we make it easy to access care. Neurosurgeons are typically available for same-day or next-day appointments. Request an appointment.
- Innovative treatments: We offer leading surgical therapies, including a broad range of neurostimulators, some of which are not widely available. Even if the pain comes back after surgery, we help you get relief with a different procedure.
- Leadership: We share our expertise with providers across the country through publications that include a novel framework to guide trigeminal neuralgia treatment. The guidance includes using specific medications to control symptoms and closely monitoring patients’ progress before considering surgery.
Planning for facial pain surgery
The type of neuralgia surgery that’s right for you depends on your diagnosis. We also consider your age, health history and other factors. If surgery is not right for you, we may recommend injections to help you get relief from symptom flare-ups. Find out more about headache nerve blocks and injections.
It’s natural to be nervous about needing neuralgia surgery. We take time to explain the procedure we are recommending and what to expect. We deliver some treatments on an outpatient basis, so you can go home the same day.
Types of trigeminal neuralgia and facial pain surgery we offer
Trigeminal neuralgia surgery and other facial pain procedures at Henry Ford may include:
We carefully move the blood vessel pressing against the trigeminal nerve out of the way. Inserting a tiny cushion prevents the blood vessel from moving back toward the nerve. This procedure typically has the highest success rate and many people experience long-term pain relief without numbness.
Neurosurgeons use minimally invasive techniques to sever specific areas of the trigeminal nerve. This procedure interferes with pain signals, so you don’t sense the pain.
We access the trigeminal nerve using a special needle under X-ray guidance and intentionally damage the trigeminal nerve. This numbs the nerve to relieve pain, without causing side effects. Techniques we offer include:
- Balloon compression involves inserting a tiny balloon, inflating it to compress the trigeminal nerve and remove it.
- Radiofrequency rhizotomy uses a special needle that is heated to selectively damage the nerve.
- Glycerol rhizotomy is an injection that numbs nerves at the skull base.
This nonsurgical treatment uses powerful beams of radiation to prevent nerves from transmitting pain signals. You may only need one radiosurgery session to achieve long-term relief. Find out more about radiosurgery.
We implant tiny wires in the brain and connect them to devices. The devices send gentle electrical impulses to control pain and regulate nerve activity.
Neuromodulation options include:
- Nerve branch stimulation uses wires we implant near the nerve that’s causing your symptoms.
- High cervical spinal cord stimulation sends electrical signals to the upper part of the spine.
- Deep brain stimulation uses wires we implant into tissue deep within the brain. Explore deep brain stimulation.
- Motor cortex stimulation is similar to deep brain stimulation, but we implant the wires on the brain’s surface.