Trigeminal neuralgia: What is it and how to cure it

Written by: Prof. Alberto Delitala
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Trigeminal neuralgia is caused in most cases as part of an artery that compresses the nerve causing unbearable pain. The professor. Delitala, specializing in Neurosurgery in Rome , talks about the most effective treatments to cure this sickness


What is trigeminal neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia is a very debilitating disease. Those suffering from trigeminal neuralgia is aware of this because it is characterized by extreme pain in dense, that affect one part of the face and which may affect the region of the first, second or third branch of the trigeminal nerve. Patients live dramatic moments because if it is true that these episodes occur suddenly, between one episode and the next live a life waiting for the next episode.


What is the most effective therapy to treat trigeminal neuralgia?

They were developed some neurosurgical interventions for trigeminal neuralgia, some of which have been abandoned because consisted in the burning of the nerve for electrically or chemically, and then we went to create a nerve injury. Today, the most accredited intervention, more effective and at the same time less invasive, is the so-called intervention MVD which means Microvascolar Decompression, ie decompression of the trigeminal nerve which is precisely compressed by an 'abnormal artery.


What is the surgery for trigeminal neuralgia?

The surgery for trigeminal neuralgia consists exactly in a cut of about 3cm behind the ear by making a small craniotomy, that is, creating a kind of block of the size of a coin from € 1 and entering with the operating microscope and with the endoscope until this conflict neurovascular. In essence, the trigeminal nerve is compressed by an artery that slams against and which causes a sort of epiletizzazione nerve, ie irritation that makes the patient feel these electrical discharges. The operation then goes to the source of the problem without creating a lesion on the nerve. This means that we separate this artery that compresses the nerve, move away and once away with microsurgical technique is pasted away with special glues.


The outcomes for trigeminal neuralgia are final?

The outcomes are especially good in patients in which we find this conflict neurovascular. These patients recover completely and return to us by repenting for not having done it before. In patients in which instead is not the conflict, about 10% of cases, it is necessary to proceed during the same operation with the so-called technique TREZL ie microincision nerve. The results are not exciting as those in which there is a neurovascular conflict, but they are acceptable for these patients return to a normal life at last.


*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Prof. Alberto Delitala
Neurological Surgery

Prof. Alberto Delitala specializes in neurosurgery .
He deals in particular with microsurgery interventions for brain neoplasms, tumors of the base of the skull (neurinomas of the acoustic nerve, meningiomas), aneurysms, cerebral angiomas and trigeminal neuralgia. Hydrocephalus , brain cysts and adenoma of the pituitary are treated with neuroendoscopic technique. In the field of spinal neurosurgery, cervical and lumbar disc herniations, vertebral instability, tumors and cysts are treated.

Born in Rome in 1952, trained and specialized in neurosurgery at the Sapienza University of Rome. Neurosurgeon at the San Camillo Hospital in Rome since 1979. Director of the Complex Neurosurgery Unit from 2005 to 2020. Director of the Neuroscience-Head-Neck Department from 2018 to 2020. Professor of Neurosurgery at the School of Specialization and the School of Advanced Training in Interventional Neurovascular of the Sapienza University of Rome.

In the two-year period 2014-2016 president of SINCH (Italian Society of Neurosurgery), currently Former-President.

President of the Mediterranean Association of Neurosurgical Society (MANS), officer of the B&L Commitee of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS). Honorary member of the Serbian Neurosurgical Society (SNS), the Southeast Europe Neurosurgical Society (SENS), the Croatian Neurosurgical Society and MASSIN.

He has enriched his skills through multiple Courses and Stages mainly in Italy, Sweden, Germany and the United States. Author of more than 100 works in Italian and international magazines and books. He has participated in over 300 congresses and meetings.

Consultant to the Health Unit of the United States Embassy in Rome.
Consultant to the Vatican City State Health Care Fund (FAS).
High Consultant of the Italian Navy.
He performed about 10,000 operations, mainly on brain tumors, skull base, aneurysms and vascular malformations, traumatic lesions, trigeminal neuralgia, hydrocephalus, neuroendoscopy, spondylosis and cervical and lumbar tumors, herniated disc, spinal instability, carpal tunnel.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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