Microvascular Decompression Surgery or (MVD) is a procedure that is often performed to provide relief of compression that can sometimes occur on the cranial nerve. The surgery is used to treat a wide range of conditions; however it has proven to be extremely successful in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia.
There are many different causes for Trigeminal Neuralgia, however one of the most common occurs when a vein or artery compresses on the nerve root. This compression can cause the nerves to misfire and send wrong messages to the brain. Especially with Trigeminal Neuralgia, patients often suffer excruciating pain in the facial region.
Microvascular Decompression surgery is a medical procedure that is often done to provide pain relief that is associated with the trigeminal neuralgia. Trigeminal Neuralgia is caused when the fifth cranial nerve is irritated. This will result in the individual experience severe pain, usually on one side of the face.
Generally when Microvascular Decompression is used to treat trigeminal neuralgia, the skull is opened where the trigeminal nerve is located. Doctors will place a small sponge between the nerver and either the petrosal vein or cerebellar artery. This sponge will remove any compression the vessels may cause on the nerve.
Generally when a patient is poised to have the surgery to treat trigeminal neuralgia, the patient usually undergoes a battery of tests. The patient will also have a consultation with the doctor, where they will go through everything related to the surgery.
On the day of the surgery, the patient will be given general anesthesia. One the patient is under the anesthesia; an incision is made behind the ear. Various parts of the skull are removed until the doctors are able to expose the brain. The doctors will they try and get to the trigeminal nerve where it is connected to the brain stem. The vessel that is causing the compression is identified and a sponge is placed between the nerve and the vessel. Once this is all done, the opening is closed up and everything sutured back together. The entire procedure should take anywhere from 2-3 hours.
It should be noted that Microvascular Decompression Surgery for trigeminal neuralgia requires the use of general anesthesia. Patients who are considered to be in poor health or who have different medical conditions may not be considered for this treatment.
After Microvascular Decompression Surgery?
Once the surgery is complete, the patient may experience certain side effects. Some of the most common symptoms that they may experience are headaches and nausea. Discomfort and pain will occur and as a result narcotic medication will be prescribed. These will prescribed for a very short period of time.
The patient will have certain restrictions as they recover from the surgery. Regular activities should not be done or restricted. No heavy lifting should occur and patients should not sit for long periods of time. This will continue for a few weeks after surgery is complete.
Is Microvascular Decompression for Trigeminal Neuralgia Effective?
The success rate in using Microvascular Decompression for Trigeminal Neuralgia is extremely high. The success rate is around 95%. 20% of the patients who have this surgery done will experience reoccurrence of pain within 10 years. One of the good things as it relates to the surgery is the fact there is little or no numbness of the face.
Is Microvascular Decompression Surgery Risky?
All surgery is risky, whether major or minor. Typically with Microvascular Decompression Surgery for trigeminal neuralgia, there is the possibility of complications such as infection, bleeding, blood clots and reactions to anesthesia occurring. Other problems could possibly occur such as swelling of the brain, stroke, seizures and nerve damage. Nerve damage is the most common and depending on the affected nerve, there may be numbness of the face, loss of hearing, facial paralysis, facial numbness, problems swallowing and double vision.
Below is a video that will look at Microvascular Decompression Surgery.