Facial Neuralgias


Trigeminal neuralgia is a neuropathic disorder of one or both of the trigeminal nerves. Its nickname is "the suicide disease" because it causes one of the most severe pains that a human being can experience, and is not easily controlled or cured. It causes episodes of intense pain in any or all of the following: the ear, eye, lips, nose, scalp, forehead, teeth or jaw on one side of the face. It is estimated that 1 in 15,000 people suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, although the actual figure may be significantly higher due to frequent misdiagnosis. TN usually develops after the age of 50, more commonly in females, although there have been cases with patients being as young as three years of age.

TN brings about stabbing, mind-numbing, electric shock-like pain from just a finger's glance of the cheek or spontaneously without any stimulation by the patient. Cold wind, high pitched sounds, loud noise such as concerts or crowds, chewing, talking, can aggravate the condition, and for the worst cases, even smiling or a scarf or the wind or hair on the side of the face is too much to bear.


This term is used to describe facial pain for which no cause can be found and which does not respond to the usual painkillers. The pain can be intermittent or continuous, of varying intensity and can last for years. It may affect a small area of the face, but it can also spread across the whole of the face and mouth. The pain is described as nagging, throbbing and aching.


Anesthesia Dolorosa is one of the most dreaded complications of neurosurgery and is considered to be non-reversible.  It occurs when the trigeminal nerve is damaged by surgery or physical trauma in such a way that the feeling sensation in part of the face is reduced or eliminated entirely while the sense of pain remains.