FOM - TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA
Male Announcer: This week on the Frontiers of Medicine. It's been called the most painful affliction known to adults - facial pain. But a new brain surgery is giving victims of this debilitating condition some much-needed relief. These stories and more from the Frontiers of Medicine.
Now, here's your host, Dr. Louis Sullivan.
Dr. Sullivan: Welcome to Frontiers of Medicine. It's widely thought to be one of the most painful conditions known to adults - facial pain. And it often strikes without warning. Now, doctors at CS Medical Center may have found a way to free patients from this debilitating illness.
Jean Greenabaum: Hey, Bud.
Female Announcer: At age 73, Jean Greenabaum can say that she feels better today than she did 10 years ago. Back then, she was in excruciating pain and had no idea why.
Jean: Said it was ... stabbing electric current pain. It was sudden and severe, no warning, and it lasted about 15 seconds.
Female Announcer: So she went to a dentist. Eight years and two root canals later, she found the reason for her facial pain - not from her dentist, but from a neurologist, Dr Hrayr Shahinian.
Dr. Shahinian: The blood vessels in your case are asymmetric. Everything is shifted to the left side.
Female Announcer: Jean suffered from trigeminal neuralgia. One of the blood vessels in her brain had shifted, putting pressure on a nerve that controls pain in the face. She agreed to try a brain surgery procedure called micro-vascular decompression. Doctors lift the blood vessel off the nerve and insert a Teflon disk between them.
Jean: The pain was gone. That was it.
Dr. Shahinian: I have yet to have one patient who...a...after experiencing the pain and the relief from surgery, to come and tell me that this was not worth it.
Female Announcer: Dr. Shahinian says less than 1% of patients have complications. But it is brain surgery and he will operate only on patients who've had no luck with medication, and have had tests to verify the condition.
Jean considers herself one of the lucky ones. After almost 10 years, her mind is finally at ease.