How is pain localized in trigeminal neuralgia (TN)?

Updated: Jul 11, 2019
  • Author: Manish K Singh, MD; Chief Editor: Robert A Egan, MD  more...
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Answer

Patients can localize their pain precisely. The pain is not confined exclusively to 1 of the 3 divisions of the trigeminal nerve but more commonly runs along the line dividing either the mandibular and maxillary nerves or the mandibular and ophthalmic portions of the nerve. Of affected patients, 60% complain of lancinating pain shooting from the corner of the mouth to the angle of the jaw; 30% experience jolts of pain from the upper lip or canine teeth to the eye and eyebrow, sparing the orbit itself—this distribution falls between the division of the first and second portions of the nerve. According to Patten, less than 5% of patients experience ophthalmic branch involvement. [16]


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