Which physical findings are characteristic of trigeminal neuralgia (TN)?

Updated: Oct 23, 2019
  • Author: Mityanand Ramnarine, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP  more...
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Physical examination findings should show no abnormality unless there is a prior or concommitant neurologic process. A normal neurologic examination is part of the definition of typical or classic trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Perform a careful examination of the cranial nerves, including the corneal reflex.

  • Be alert to the presence of any abnormality on physical examination. Abnormality suggests that the pain syndrome is secondary to another process.

  • Trigeminal sensory deficits suggest symptomatic trigeminal neuralgia.

  • Remember that patients report pain following stimulation of a trigger point; thus, some patients may limit their examination for fear of stimulating these points.

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