Right Diagnosis and treatment can help cure the ‘suicide disease’ and ‘winking disease’ opines Dr. Jaydev Panchawagh, Neurosurgeon at Sahyadri Hospitals

PUNE, India, Nov. 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Trigeminal neuralgia is a disorder of the fifth cranial nerve called the trigeminal nerve. With blood vessel pressing against the trigeminal nerve, the condition leads to unbearable pain on the face, cheek and one side of the face, normally on the upper side of the chin and upwards and backwards till the ear level. The progressive disorder gets worse due to elongation of blood vessels and subsequent crowding near the nerves and folding in a limited available space. This causes hitting pulsation which destroys myelin, an insulating layer around the nerve. The character of this myelin changes at and around the region where the nerve enters into the brain. One or more blood vessels compressing in this zone can cause trigeminal neuralgia. This can happen either due to age, in some cases due to genetic structures  and in rare cases; due to tumour and Multiple sclerosis.

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The worrying characteristics of this disease include excruciating pain like one would feel with an electric shock or piercing knife or multiple needles or having red chilli powder put on the face, etc.

One other similar disorder where one side of the face twitches repeatedly is called as Hemi Facial Spasm (HFS). In this, one side of the person’s face appears to be repeatedly contracting. It usually starts in the muscles surrounding the eye. For an observer, it may appear as if the person is repeatedly winking with that eye and making gestures and might create an embarrassing situation.

The diagnosis for Trigeminal neuralgia  involves understanding the typical features about the pain, where and when it occurs. The face becomes extremely sensitive to touch, lower temperature or even light breeze created by household fans. Even the process of chewing or eating can become unbearable. The intense pain depletes the patient’s morale and can push a person into suicidal thoughts; which is why it is called as ‘suicide disease’. The disease causes behavioural changes, the patients start to stay aloof because of pain or muscle contractions. The patient’s reaction to the recurring pain or unintentional winking of eyes might be mistaken as a physiological issue. This may push the patients into social aloofness and overall depletion of their quality of life.

The key to diagnosis of the disease is to understand its clinical history, description of the pain and has to be backed with MRI; including a specific CISS – nerve sequence. The only treatment for this condition is Micro Vascular Decompression (MVD) surgery. At the onset of the disease, surgery may not be advised. Initially, a small numbing dose of medication may be given. It needs to be observed whether the disease is evolving. If the pain intensity increases; then the MVD procedure is advised. The timeline between onset of pain and increase in intensity is variable in different cases. Sometimes, the facial pain can lead to wrong diagnosis resulting in dental procedures and triggering pain.

About Sahyadri Hospitals:

Sahyadri Hospitals is the largest chain of hospitals in Maharashtra with 8 hospitals across three cities of Pune, Nashik and Karad. The hospital chain has over 900 Beds and 200 ICU beds, 2000 Clinicians and 2600 Supporting Staff providing round the clock healthcare. Sahyadri Hospitals has touched the lives of more than 50 lakh people by providing quality care.

To know more: http://sahyadrihospital.com/

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