Which trigeminal neuralgia (TN) surgery treatments have low success rates?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019
  • Author: Kim J Burchiel, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Brian H Kopell, MD  more...
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Many operations have been offered to patients in recent decades. Local ablation of the peripheral nerve and wide sectioning of the sensory roots have largely been abandoned. In the past, alcohol injection was given to the affected nerve; rhizotomy or tractotomy was recommended if pharmacologic treatment was unsuccessful.

Alcohol or phenol injection of the trigeminus can be performed at various locations along the nerve, and the goal is to destroy selective pain fibers. Although it is an easy procedure, the success rate is low, in part because of a low selectivity of effect on the fiber type with this substance. Recurrence rates are around 50% at 1 year.

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