Types of Trigeminal Neuralgia: Typical vs. Atypical

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a rare and excruciating nerve disorder that can occur when a blood vessel compresses the trigeminal nerve, the largest nerve in the head, and causes debilitating pain in various parts of the face and jaw region.

Trigeminal neuralgia is usually categorized as typical or atypical, with symptoms differing depending on the type:

  • Typical: With typical TN, the most common form, patients suffer from unpredictable episodes of stabbing, electric shock-like pain in a consistent location. The pain can be reproduced by touching a “trigger point” on the face or performing a certain activity, such as chewing or talking.
  • Atypical: Patients with atypical TN experience a persistent dull ache or burning sensation in one part of the face. However, episodes of sharp pain can complicate atypical TN. Unlike typical TN, there is often not a specific trigger point for the pain and it can grow worse over time.

Illinois CyberKnife treats TN with the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.  To treat a patient with TN, the CyberKnife targets and delivers radiation to a segment of the trigeminal nerve to interrupt pain-causing fibers.  The pinpoint accuracy and precision of the procedure minimize radiation exposure to surrounding tissue and provide a noninvasive treatment typically completed in a single outpatient session.

Contact Illinois CyberKnife for more information on CyberKnife treatment for TN or to schedule a consultation.