What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) is considered by many to be among the most excruciatingly painful conditions known to mankind that causes a sudden, sharp and stabbing pain to one side of the face
The pain is most commonly caused by a blood vessel pushing on the trigeminal nerve.
TN is also known as “tic douloureux”.
TN is not life-threatening ailment but it is a progressive disease ie. the pain gets worse over the time making patient to carry his simple daily chores.
How should I know that I am suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia?
You can diagnose TN yourself if you have following symptoms-
If you feel pain usually on one side of your face from your forehead to your jaw, especially in your cheek, jaw, teeth, gums, and lipsIn some cases, pain could be felt on both sides. This condition is called as bilateral trigeminal neuralgia. Click To Tweet
If you feel pain while brushing your teeth, shaving, washing your face or putting on makeup
Even a light breeze against your face might trigger the pain.
Such pain gets triggered while speaking or chewing or due to slight touch on face or even hair falls on temple
Pain is felt like an electric shock with varying intensity lasting for few seconds to several minutes
Pain attacks come several times a day or week, followed by pain-free periods. In later stage frequency of attack increasing making them more often
Classic TN can be identified by sudden and intense bouts of pain while less intense, persistent, aching, burning sensation typed signifies atypical TN
Pain is seldom experienced in eyes and forehead region
Remember that in TN pain is mostly felt in cheek, jaw, teeth, gums, and lips so you may misdiagnose it as an abscessed tooth or swollen gum and plan our visit to a dentist, in turn, causing to extend your painful days.
Am I more likely to suffer by TN?Women, especially over age 50, are more likely than men to get trigeminal neuralgia Click To Tweet
The disease is more common in people older than 50.
High blood pressure or hypertension patients are susceptible to TN
In some cases, TN is found in family history perhaps because of hereditary basis of formation of blood vessels in the brain
Many celebrities like Bollywood actor Salman Khan, are TN patients
It is estimated that 1 in 15,000 to 20,000 people worldwide have TN
Is my Trigeminal Neuralgia curable?
Of course, Yes! TN could be treated with medications or surgical procedures
Medications can cause the pain to subside by suppressing the TN symptoms. Certain drugs called as anticonvulsants keep the nerves from reacting to irritation thus reducing the pain.
But over the time medications become less effective, in such case surgical procedure is the best option. Micro-Vascular Decompression (MVD) Surgery, involving seperating blood vessels that are pressing the trigeminal nerve is the classic remedy to cure trigeminal neuralgia.
WIINS has treated successfully over 800 patients for Trigeminal Neuralgia making their lives pain free.
What is Brain (Cerebral) Aneurysm?
It is an outward bulging or ballooning of abnormal, weak area in the wall of blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain
In most cases, a brain aneurysm causes no symptoms and goes unnoticed.
But in some cases they rupture, causing bleeding into the brain or space closely surrounding the brain called the subarachnoid space, causing a subarachnoid hemorrhage commonly known as brain stroke. Such stroke may prove fatal leading to brain damage subsequently death.
What causes Brain (Cerebral) an Aneurysm?
Following are the major causes of an Aneurysm
- Old Age: Hardening of blood vessels due to old age
- Family History: People having a family history of such aneurysms are more likely to have an aneurysm than those who don’t.
- Previous Aneurysm: People who have had one brain aneurysm are more likely to have another.
- Gender: Women are more prone to develop a brain aneurysm or to suffer a subarachnoid hemorrhage than men.
- High Blood Pressure: Patients suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure are on the higher side of risk to have a brain aneurysm.
- Addiction: Smoking, Excessive Alcohol Consumption, can increase the chances of getting brain aneurysm and rupturing it.
- Other: Head trauma or infections can also cause a brain aneurysm
What are the symptoms of a Brain Aneurysm?
Most of the brain aneurysms go unnoticed and may come to attention if their size increases putting pressure on the nearby brain areas thus affecting the brain function. Broadly symptoms of unruptured and ruptured aneurysms are listed as follows.
Symptoms of Un-ruptured Aneurysm
- Peripheral vision deficits
- Thinking or processing problems
- Speech complications
- Perceptual problems
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Decreased concentration
- Short-term memory difficulty
Symptoms of Ruptured Aneurysm leading to subarachnoid hemorrhage i.e. bleeding in brain
- Severe headache which can’t be alleviated by painkillers (Thunder clap headache)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stiff neck or neck pain
- Blurred vision or double vision
- Pain above and behind the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Unconsciousness or altered alertness
How doctors diagnose a Brain Aneurysm?
Most of the unruptured brain aneurysms remain undiscovered as they don’t cause any peculiar symptoms. In many cases aneurysms get detected while treating patients with different disease.
A doctor can confirm a brain aneurysm by any of the following methods.
- Computed Tomography (CT) scan: This can be used to check the bleeding in the brain. This is noninvasive method used to look at blood vessels in the brain.
- Computed Tomography Angiogram (CTA) scan: This is a more precise method than a standard CT scan. It involves a combination of CT scanning, special computer software, and dye injected into the blood to produce images of blood vessels. Unlike CT scan CTA is an invasive method.
- Cerebral Angiogram: This is an invasive procedure in which flexible tube i.e. catheter is guided through an artery in groin or arm to the blood vessels in the brain. A liquid dye or contrast agent is then injected into a vessel and x-ray images are taken. Although this test is more invasive and carries more risk than the above tests, it is the best way to locate small (less than 5 mm) brain aneurysms as it gives detailed pictures of location, size, and shape of an aneurysm.
How Is Brain Aneurysm treated?
Not all aneurysms need to be treated as the probability of a small (less than 2 mm) an aneurysm rupturing is low. Moreover, surgery for a brain aneurysm is complicated and risky. So your doctor may advise ways to keep blood vessels as healthy as possible by managing high blood pressure, abstaining smoking, heavy alcohol consumption.
In case of large aneurysms causing severe headaches or obstruction in normal brain functioning, surgical procedures might be recommended.
Following are the two surgical methods used to treat both ruptured and unruptured brain aneurysms.
Endovascular Embolization: During this procedure, a small tube i.e. catheter is inserted into the affected blood vessel and positioned near an aneurysm.
For coil embolization, soft metal coils are then moved through the tube and packed into an aneurysm, filling the aneurysm thereby preventing the blood flow to enter into an aneurysm and making it less likely to rupture.
These procedures are less invasive than surgery. But they involve risks, including rupture of an aneurysm.
Surgical Clipping: In this procedure, an incision is made in the skin over the head. After which a small metal clip is placed around the base of an aneurysm to stop blood flowing into it. This reduces the pressure on the aneurysm and prevents it from rupturing.
In WIINS we follow special anesthesia procedure called Temporary Cardiac arrest to treat difficult aneurysm.
Few centers in the World do this procedure.
Depending on your age, size of an aneurysm, any additional risk factors, and your overall health doctor finalizes the best method to treat your brain aneurysm.