Trigeminal Neuralgia

Christopher Duma, MD, FACS -  - Neurosurgeon

Christopher Duma, MD, FACS

Neurosurgeon & Brain Tumor Specialist located in Newport Beach, CA

If the simple act of touching your face feels like an electric shock of pain, you may have a condition known as trigeminal neuralgia. As a skilled neurosurgeon, Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, is highly experienced in diagnosing and treating the root cause of trigeminal neuralgia-related pain at his neurosurgery center in Newport Beach, California. Dr. Duma offers several treatments, including innovative Gamma Knife® radiosurgery, to alleviate your symptoms and give you long-lasting pain relief. Find out more about your options for treating trigeminal neuralgia by calling the office or by using the online booking feature to request an appointment.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Q & A

What is trigeminal neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that involves your trigeminal nerve, which provides sensations from your face to your brain. This type of neuralgia can cause excruciating pain with even the lightest touch, such as applying lotion or brushing your teeth.

The condition is the result of dysfunction in the trigeminal nerve, often due to pressure from nearby blood vessels. Your risk for trigeminal neuralgia increases as you get older or if you have a chronic condition that causes nerve damage, such as multiple sclerosis.

While many people experience mild, short-lasting attacks of pain, some will develop a progressive worsening of the condition that interferes with their quality of life.

What are the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia?

In addition to chronic pain, trigeminal neuralgia can cause electric shocks of pain that can last from seconds to minutes. Pain attacks can also go on for weeks or months and affect many areas of the face, including your:

  • Jaw
  • Lips
  • Gums
  • Teeth
  • Cheeks

Pain often affects just one side of your face at a time but can occur in both sides. You usually feel pain in one specific area, and it can spread out into a wider pattern.

Without treatment, pain of trigeminal neuralgia can worsen and intensify over time, disrupting and limiting your usual activities.

How is trigeminal neuralgia diagnosed?

To determine if your pain is related to trigeminal neuralgia, Dr. Duma reviews your symptoms and assesses the severity and location of your pain. He performs a neurological exam, testing your reflexes and examining your face.

Dr. Duma may also order an MRI to determine the cause of the pressure, such as nearby tumors. Based on the results of your testing, he creates a treatment plan to relieve pressure on the nerve and alleviate your symptoms.

What treatments are available for trigeminal neuralgia?

There are several treatment options available for treating trigeminal neuralgia, and Dr. Duma works closely with you to determine which is best for you.

Options may include stereotactic radiosurgery using the Gamma Knife®, which requires no incisions to deliver beams of gamma radiation to lesions or tumors pressing on the nerve.

Microvascular decompression is also a treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. This surgical procedure involves a small incision in the back of the skull to access and remove blood vessels pressing on the nerve. Dr. Duma may also place a soft pad on the nerve for added protection.

If you have excruciating pain from trigeminal neuropathy, don’t delay an evaluation. You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Duma today using the online booking feature or by calling the office.

For more information about what services Dr. Duma offers, visit the "Procedures" Section.

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