This procedure eliminates (or greatly reduces) the sharp bursts of pain in the facial nerves caused by trigeminal neuralgia. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and requires a short hospital stay.
In preparation for the procedure, anesthesia is administered. The patient’s head is secured to prevent movement. The skin behind the ear is shaved.
Creating the Opening
The surgeon creates a small incision in the scalp to access the skull. The surgeon creates a small opening in the skull to expose the protective membrane around the brain, called the dura. The surgeon opens the dura with a small scalpel.
Accessing the Nerve
The surgeon inserts flexible retractors and gently pushes the cerebellum away from the base of the skull. This exposes the trigeminal nerve.
Cushioning the Nerve
The surgeon identifies the blood vessel that is pushing against the trigeminal nerve. The surgeon gently pushes this blood vessel away from the nerve and inserts a pad between them to prevent any further contact.
End of Procedure
When the pressure is relieved, the surgeon closes the dura. The skull is patched with bone cement or titanium mesh, and the incision in the scalp is closed with sutures or surgical staples. After Care The patient will be closely monitored in the hospital for the next four or five days. A followup visit will be necessary.