Relief from trigeminal neuralgia symptoms is possible with medical or surgical treatment. NYU Langone physicians work with you to develop a recovery plan that is specific to your needs and based on the treatment you have received.
If your doctor prescribes medication for trigeminal neuralgia, follow-up appointments are scheduled regularly to ensure that the medicine is effective in easing your symptoms. Sometimes the dose or the medication itself needs to be changed to provide you with maximum relief.
The team at NYU Langone takes the time to work with you to fine-tune treatment, so that you get the best possible results. Most people need to take medication on a long-term basis to alleviate symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia, although some are able to stop medication after months or years of treatment.
If you have had surgery for trigeminal neuralgia, the recovery process depends on the type of surgical procedure. Pain relief can be immediate after most percutaneous procedures, but it may be weeks or months after gamma knife surgery before pain subsides. You may have some facial numbness following percutaneous procedures, but most people treated at NYU Langone report that this numbness is easier to tolerate than the pain they previously experienced. Follow-up appointments with your doctor occur in the three to six months after you’ve had a gamma knife or percutaneous procedure.
Microvascular decompression surgery often provides rapid pain relief. You may have to take medication for two to four weeks after the procedure to ease any discomfort and swelling and to guard against infection. Your doctor slowly decreases your use of these medications after about a month. Stitches at the incision site are typically removed about 10 days after the procedure. Most people are able to return to work and daily activities about a month after surgery.
Although no procedure is guaranteed to cure trigeminal neuralgia, all three types of trigeminal neuralgia surgery have the potential to stop pain for many years, if not permanently. Some surgical procedures can also be repeated if the pain returns. If pain does return after surgery, it may be more easily treated with medications.