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Facial pain

Facial pain, either acute or chronic, is often difficult to manage since no visible cause can be found in many cases

About

Facial pain can occur even when the structures of your mouth, jaw and face are healthy. In chronic facial pain, there is a disturbance in the transmission of pain messages to your brain. Nerves carrying the pain signals have a memory for transmitting pain. These nerves become extremely sensitive and the pain signal does not ‘switch off’.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of facial pain icon plus

    Treatment options depend on the type of your pain but may include antidepressants or anticonvulsants to decrease the number of pain impulses reaching your brain. 

    There are surgical options for trigeminal neuralgia, a specific type of facial pain with characteristic symptoms of sharp, stabbing pain often referred to as like ‘electric shocks’. These include: 

    • glycerol injections
    • radiofrequency lesioning
    • balloon compression
    • stereotactic radiosurgery with Gamma Knife
    • microvascular decompression

     

  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your consultant will speak to you about your symptoms, medical history and perform a physical examination of your mouth, face and neck. They may also request the following tests:

    • X-rays to rule out bone fractures, breaks or damage
    • blood tests to help determine the cause of pain

    Usually, as in most chronic pains, no visible cause can be found.

     

  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment options depend on the source of your pain but may include: - Antidepressants or anticonvulsants, to decrease the number of pain impulses reaching your brain. - Glycerol injections - Radiofrequency lesioning - Balloon compression - Stereotactic radiosurgery with Gamma Knife. This uses a concentrated beam of radiation to deliberately damage the nerve where it enters the brainstem. - Microvascular decompression. This involves relieving the pressure placed on your nerve by blood vessels that are touching the nerve or wrapped around it.
Consultant with patient

Our consultants

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

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From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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