Demystifying Trigeminal Neuralgia: Insights from Dr. Michael Lim

Date: November 8th, 2023

As I delved into the “Types of Facial Pain- The 2023 FPA Video Series,” I stumbled upon an eye-opening discussion led by a leading expert in Trigeminal Neuralgia, Dr. Michael Lim. His insights shed light on the enigmatic nature of this condition.

Dr. Lim emphatically emphasized that Trigeminal Neuralgia is a clinical condition. There’s no definitive blood test, MRI, or CT scan that can be administered to make a concrete diagnosis. These tests primarily serve the purpose of ruling out underlying issues that might potentially lead to Trigeminal Neuralgia, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or brain tumors. The diagnosis of TN hinges purely on the patient’s reported symptoms: sharp, stabbing pain, or electrical pain triggered by sensory stimuli or stress. The reported pain can also manifest as burning, constant, or aching. Additionally, it can be associated with inflammatory conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus. Furthermore, it can be induced by consuming hot or cold foods or drinks, and it typically affects one side of the face.

Trigeminal Neuralgia is, in fact, the most prevalent cause of facial pain not only in the United States but throughout the world. However, it is relatively rare, with approximately 15,000 new cases emerging each year. Fortunately, TN is not a life-threatening condition.

Dr. Lim’s discourse also revealed that TN can occasionally arise following dental procedures. It exhibits a predilection for women over men and typically occurs between the fifth and seventh decades of life (ages 40-60).

To combat the excruciating facial pain, patients have access to medical interventions such as antiepileptic drugs, specific narcotics, or migraine medications. Surgical options are available, though their efficacy can be underwhelming. These options include Microvascular Decompression (MVD) with a relatively low success rate, Rhizotomies (which may potentially worsen symptoms), Caudalis Drez, Stimulators, and Deep Brain Stimulation. Dr. Lim’s words underscored the necessity for more research to enhance the quality of life for patients living with TN.

One vital point emphasized by Dr. Lim was the dynamic nature of the pain experienced by TN patients. The types of pain can evolve and change over time, highlighting the importance of ongoing research and continuous exploration of treatment options.

To see the full video, click here.

Stay tuned for further insights into my journey with Trigeminal Neuralgia as I navigate this complex condition and seek relief.

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