Trigeminal Neuralgia – Our Treatment Options

Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment Options

This severely painful nerve disorder can be treated by the specialists at Orange County CyberKnife and Radiation Oncology Center. Trigeminal Neuralgia (TM) involves a sudden, sharp, shooting pain in one side of the face. The Trigeminal nerve is located in the face and there are three divisions: one that goes through the eye and forehead; one that goes through the cheek; and one that goes through the jaw. TM usually happens in the cheek or jaw area. In some cases, people may think the pain is due to dental issues and so those must be ruled out through X-rays and a dental evaluation.

There are two distinct types of TM. The Classical or Typical type of TM involves sharp, debilitating episodes of pain that shoot through the face, with periods of no pain in between. This pain can be set off by touching the face, eating, swallowing or chewing. The second type is an Atypical TM that brings constant pain to the face PLUS the sharp, shooting pain. The pain grows stronger with time.

TN usually happens when a blood vessel compresses the trigeminal nerve. It can happen suddenly and last several years and even decades. The number of attacks can be seasonal and vary from several each day to a few each year.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatments Available In Southern California

Orange County CyberKnife houses the most advanced collection of radiation therapy treatments in Southern California and they are operated by highly trained and skilled radiation oncologists. TN is treated with medication, surgery or external radiation therapy, all of which offer varying degrees of success.


Medication is often the first line of treatment for TN patients. These may be effective for patients, sometimes for long periods of time. However, patients often have their pain return and/or experience fatigue or other significant side effects.


If medical treatments are not successful, patients often choose surgery, including a procedure known as microvascular decompression (MVD). Younger TN patients often prefer MVD because of its potential of a long-term cure without causing significant facial numbness. Open surgery also carries risks of infection, arterial or cranial-nerve injury or stroke. Certain patients may have medical conditions that prevent surgery, while others may object to surgery.

Other procedures.

Known as radiofrequency rhizotomy, glycerol rhizotomy or nerve balloon compression attempt to destroy trigeminal nerve fibers that cause pain. These operations have varying degrees of success, and pain relief often doesn’t last more than a few years. Therefore, the treatment typically must be repeated several times over a patient’s life.

CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery.

CyberKnife is a type of external radiation technology that focuses radiation beams directly to the nerve. The radiation experts at Orange County CyberKnife use the CyberKnife to treat TN without the need for cutting or surgery. The treatment involves focusing radiation on the trigeminal nerve. The radiation will cause injury to the nerve preventing it from transmitting the pain. It also stimulates a healing process that, over time can relieve pain. The success of this procedure is 90 percent to 95 percent with few side effects.

CyberKnife is unique in many ways, including:

  • Robotic arm is flexible to reach the exact end of the nerve from any angle.
  • High-tech imaging system tracks your slightest movement and adjust the radiation beams to stay focused on the nerve, avoiding adjacent healthy tissue.
  • Uses a comfortable, flexible mask to help keep head steady during treatment, while other systems, like Gamma Knife, require that your head be tied into a rigid metal frame bolted to a table.
  • High doses of beams are transmitted in one to five short sessions, one per day.

Find Out More. Call Today

Our radiation experts are here to help you understand every facet of your Trigeminal Neuralgia treatment in Southern California. Please contact us today at (714) 962-7100 to find out more about how CyberKnife can relieve your TN pain! Or, use our convenient online appointment form to make your first appointment. We are ready and waiting to answer all of your questions and show you how CyberKnife could be the best treatment for your Trigeminal Neuralgia.

Learn How CyberKnife Can Treat Trigeminal Neuralgia