Al Ain, UAE - 7, July 2021: The Neurosurgery Department at Tawam Hospital, part of Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) – the UAE’s largest healthcare network, successfully rid a patient’s long-term condition of Trigeminal Neuralgia, with a minimally-invasive, microscopic operation that lasted a couple of hours.
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from the face to the brain. Patients with trigeminal neuralgia can experience significant pain from any mild stimulation of the face, like brushing teeth or putting on makeup.
The patient, Ibrahim’s journey, began with him experiencing acute pain, which he described as very warm and sharp needle punctures to the left half of his face, that occurred when he would carry out normal daily activities like eating, drinking, brushing his teeth, and even sometimes talking.
After seeking medical consultation at Tawam Hospital in Al Ain, Ibrahim’s condition was diagnosed by Dr. Ali Hassan, consultant neurologist, and the patient was prescribed sedative drugs to ease the nerve inflammation.
Dr. Mohammed Al-Asha, consultant neurosurgeon, and lead surgeon on Ibrahim’s case, said: “Trigeminal nerve inflammation is usually caused by congenital deformity resulting in contact between a blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve in the area of exit of the nerve from the brain stem, leading to constant irritation in the nerve, and continuous neurotransmission. The brain deals with this with very severe pain in the facial nerve.
“The challenge we faced was that the MRI scans completed on Ibrahim showed no deformity or neuro-arterial conflict. But after exploring Ibrahim’s case very carefully and adopting a multidisciplinary approach of consultation alongside the patient, we collectively decided to proceed with a surgical procedure with the purpose of exploring and freeing the trigeminal nerve from any pressure caused by the attached blood vessels, if any.”
The procedure was completed using minimally-invasive, state-of-the-art neurosurgical and physiological monitoring devices to ensure the avoidance of complications during the procedure. The surgical team's efforts proved a success, with the identification of a severe adhesion between the trigeminal nerve and a blood vessel, and its subsequent release. The patient was discharged after two days and was able to return to full functionality of normal day-to-day activities, pain-free.
Since the establishment of this unique service at Tawam Hospital in 2020, the facility has received many cases of Trigeminal Neuralgia, either through self-sought care or patient referrals, that have been treated with pioneering success and without any complications. In all cases, patients report lessened nerve pain, increased functionality in basic daily tasks, and reduced need for medication.