If you suffer from the severe pain of trigeminal neuralgia, you probably have tried a number of medications and therapies to find relief. If other treatments have failed and you are considering surgery, microvascular decompression may help you. This surgery technique has been performed for decades. Today, our team at the UCLA Neuromodulation for Movement Disorders and Pain Program is the best choice for expert surgical care in Los Angeles.
Microvascular decompression is a minimally invasive procedure that involves removing or relocating any blood vessels putting pressure on the trigeminal nerve.
At the UCLA Neuromodulation for Movement Disorders and Pain Program, we perform microvascular decompression to treat chronic pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia. This pain condition has several possible causes. We only perform microvascular decompression when the pain involves pressure on the trigeminal nerve.
The procedure is best for patients 65 and younger who have no significant medical or surgical risk factors.
Trigeminal neuralgia is often caused by pressure on the trigeminal nerve from a blood vessel, usually the superior cerebellar artery. During this minimally invasive procedure, your neurosurgeon makes an incision behind your ear to reach the trigeminal nerve. Working with tiny instruments through this hole, your surgeon carefully moves any arteries touching the nerve and removes any veins pushing against it. Your surgeon will place a pad between the vessel and nerve to prevent them from touching again.
The incidence of facial numbness after microvascular decompression is much less than with radiofrequency ablation. Pain relief can be long-lived and effective:
All surgeries have risks. Possible complications after microvascular decompression include:
Interested in microvascular decompression at UCLA? Get prepared for your first appointment.