Intense pain or unexplained spasms in your face may be a sign of underlying nerve compression. At Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center in Sandy Springs, College Park, and Bethlehem, Georgia, the experienced surgical team offers microvascular decompression procedures to take pressure off of your facial nerves and relieve pain and other symptoms that disrupt your life. If you need help managing facial pain from trigeminal neuralgia or other conditions, call the Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center office nearest you or request an appointment online today.
Microvascular decompression is a surgery that focuses on relieving abnormal compression of the cranial nerve. This nerve sits at the base of your brainstem within your skull and when compressed, can result in painful conditions like trigeminal neuralgia, glossopharyngeal neuralgia, and hemifacial spasms.
Trigeminal neuralgia describes extreme pain and muscle spasms in your face. Many feel severe, shock-like pain with even gentle touches while brushing their teeth or applying lotion. This condition often results when a blood vessel presses on the nerves of your face.
Glossopharyngeal neuralgia describes extreme pain that affects your tongue, ear, and back of your throat. Shock-like pain sensations develop when you swallow, likely due to nerve compression from nearby blood vessels.
Hemifacial spasms involve involuntary twitching and abnormal contraction of the facial muscles. This condition usually affects just one side of your face and might be the result of nerve compression or an injury to the facial nerve.
During a microvascular decompression procedure, your surgeon at Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center opens your skull to expose the compressed cranial nerve. This involves making an incision behind your ear and using a drill to create an opening in your skull.
Once the nerve is visible, your surgeon inserts a small sponge between the nerve and the blood vessel that’s compressing it.
The sponge effectively separates the structures to relieve pressure and protect the nerve from the pulsating effect coming from the blood vessel. This separation relieves your symptoms quickly and provides you with long-lasting results.
Immediately following your surgery, you spend time recovering from anesthesia. You can expect to spend the night in the hospital under close observation. Your Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center provider works closely with you to ensure your pain is under control. When you’re stable, your surgeon may recommend a gradual increase in your activity to help you recover more efficiently.
In the days after microvascular decompression, you should avoid strenuous activities, like high-impact exercise and heavy lifting. You also need to follow instructions to properly care for your incision to reduce your risk for bleeding and infection. Your provider can tell you when it’s safe to return to work and your usual routine during your checkup after surgery.
Microvascular decompression has a high rate of success for treating trigeminal neuralgia and other conditions while preventing the return of your symptoms.
Your Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center physician continues to monitor your postsurgical healing process to ensure treatment is working well for you and that you experience no swelling, pain, facial numbness, or other possible side effects of microvascular decompression.
If the intense facial pain of trigeminal neuralgia or other condition is limiting what you can do, schedule a diagnostic evaluation at Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center. You can request an appointment by phone or through the online booking feature.