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Understanding Trigeminal Neuralgia
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Understanding Trigeminal Neuralgia

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Though primarily used to treat benign and malignant tumors, stereotactic radiosurgery can also treat additional medical conditions, such as a rare nerve disorder, Trigeminal Neuralgia.

Though primarily used to treat benign and malignant tumors, stereotactic radiosurgery can also treat additional medical conditions, such as a rare nerve disorder, Trigeminal Neuralgia.

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  • 1. Understanding Trigeminal Neuralgia What Is It? / Types / Treatment Options / More Info 200 Berteau Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126 / (331) 221-2050 / www.chicagock.com
  • 2. What is Trigeminal Neuralgia? Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), sometimes referred to as Tic Douloureux, is a nerve disorder that can cause intense pain on either side of the face. The pain can be triggered when cold air touches specific facial areas or with movements like chewing, talking or swallowing. The unpredictable, severe pain from TN can significantly impact one's quality of life. The disorder occurs in the trigeminal, or fifth cranial, nerve that controls sensation in the face. TN is more common in women, and patients are typically middle-aged or seniors. 200 Berteau Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126 / (331) 221-2050 / www.chicagock.com
  • 3. Trigeminal Neuralgia: Typical & Atypical Cases TYPICAL TN In typical TN, patients suffer from unpredictable episodes of stabbing, electric shock-like pain in a consistent location. Such patients can reproduce an attack by touching a “trigger point” on the face or performing a specific activity like chewing or talking. ATYPICAL TN With atypical TN, the pain is a persistent dull ache or burning sensation in one part of the face. However, episodes of sharp pain can complicate atypical TN. There is usually not a specific trigger point with atypical TN, while the pain grows worse over time. 200 Berteau Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126 / (331) 221-2050 / www.chicagock.com
  • 4. What are the treatment options? All forms of TN can be treated with medication, surgery or radiosurgery, all of which offer varying degrees of success. Medication can relieve pain in most TN patients, though it’s not always effective and can produce fatigue or other significant side effects. Nevertheless, medication is generally the first line of treatment. Please note: We encourage consumers to thoroughly review and understand all treatment options. The information presented here is not all-inclusive. Rather, it represents a starting point to learn more about medical conditions and treatment options. There is no substitute for consulting a medical professional. Surgery Radiosurgery 200 Berteau Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126 / (331) 221-2050 / www.chicagock.com
  • 5. Treatment Option One: Surgery If patients do not find relief from pain medication, they may be a candidate for surgery, including a procedure known as microvascular decompression, or MVD. In younger TN patients, MVD is often preferred, because it holds the potential of a long-term cure without causing significant facial numbness. Other procedures known as radiofrequency rhizotomy, glycerol rhizotomy or nerve balloon compression attempt to destroy trigeminal nerve fibers that cause pain. These operations have varying degrees of success and pain relief can return after a few years. Therefore, the treatment is typically repeated several times over a patient’s life. Open surgery also carries risks of infection, arterial or cranial-nerve injury or stroke. Certain patients have medical conditions that prevent surgery, while others may object to surgery. 200 Berteau Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126 / (331) 221-2050 / www.chicagock.com
  • 6. Treatment Option Two: Radiosurgery Though primarily used to treat benign and malignant tumors throughout the body, stereotactic radiosurgery can also treat additional medical conditions including trigeminal neuralgia. The CyberKnife® is an advanced technology that performs stereotactic radiosurgery. During the procedure, the machine delivers highly focused radiation to the trigeminal nerve to interrupt pain-causing fibers. While other stereotactic radiosurgery treatment options can require a metal frame be attached to the patient's skull under local anesthesia, CyberKnife does not. CyberKnife doesn’t require a head frame. It uses a highly advanced computer-imaging system that can compensate for small head movements, allowing the patient to lie comfortably during the procedure. TN treatment with the CyberKnife begins with a CT or MRI brain scan, particularly of the trigeminal nerve area. With a CT scan, doctors often use a dye injected into the spinal fluid through a spinal tap to improve the imaging. 200 Berteau Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126 / (331) 221-2050 / www.chicagock.com
  • 7. Treatment Option Two: Radiosurgery • During CyberKnife treatment, high-dose radiation beams are precisely aimed along a segment of the trigeminal nerve. • The pinpoint accuracy of the CyberKnife procedure spares healthy tissue and does not require surgery or sedation. • Stereotactic radiosurgery for TN is typically a one-time, outpatient procedure and is completed within an hour. • TN does not have a cure, but pain can be reduced or eliminated in about 85 to 90 percent of patients who are treated with stereotactic radiosurgery, according to clinical data. • The most common side effect is facial numbness that likely correlates with the degree of pain relief. • Pain relief with CyberKnife treatment can be substantially faster than other forms of radiosurgery. • This may be the result of the system’s accuracy. Follow-up is needed before doctors can estimate how long pain relief will last. 200 Berteau Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126 / (331) 221-2050 / www.chicagock.com
  • 8. Our Center CyberKnife Center of Chicago opened in August 2009 as a service of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital. Our center is part of the hospital’s radiation oncology department, which is accredited by the American College of Radiology. Our state-of-the-art CyberKnife® technology can offer hope to patients in the Chicago suburbs and beyond. CyberKnife Center of Chicago has a dedicated CyberKnife Nurse Navigator who works with our physicians and patients to coordinate care and manage the treatment process. We know that any diagnosis is a scary one and we’re here to make your experience as easy as possible. We encourage you to call us anytime with questions or concerns. Medical Director: Dr. Andy W. Su CyberKnife Nurse: Griselle Romero, RN Social Media Channels Read Our Blog! http://www.chicagock.com/our-center/news-events/ 200 Berteau Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126 / (331) 221-2050 / www.chicagock.com