AUG 15, 2018 12:27 AM PDT

Peripheral Nerve Blockers Treat Facial Pain

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

A new research study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine explains the use of peripheral nerve inhibitors in the treatment of facial pain condition known as Trigeminal Neuralgia (TGN). TGN involves sudden episodes of severe facial pain that can significantly reduce the quality of life for affected individuals.

Some patients seek highly precise invasive procedures when proper medication fails to manage the pain. However, invasive procedures often leave patients with discomfort and the long period of numbness. Fortunately, the study examined alternatives that can give patients promising results with less discomfort. Such an alternative is Peripheral Trigeminal Nerve Blocks (PTNB). PTNB can be thought of as another procedure in which a numbing medication is administered through an injection at the site where the problem nerve reaches the facial pain area. Although PTNB serves as a promising alternative, the efficacy of this particular drug has not been well studied in both short-term and long-term management of TGN.

Image Retrieved From Unsplash, www.unsplash.com

During a case series in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, Michael Perloff, MD, a clinical neurologist and an assistant professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, examined nine TGN patients that were treated with PTNB. Perloff found that all nine patients had an immediate relief of their pain after the administered procedure, with many reporting pain-free feeling. Additionally, six of these nine patients reported continued pain relief from a range of one to eight months that followed the procedure, with two of the patients experiencing a complete resolution of their pain months after the administered injections. Perloff believes these results to be an encouraging step towards effective pain management for patients with TGN. "PTNB can be a simple, safe alternative compared to opioids, invasive ganglion level procedures or surgery."

Source: Boston University School of Medicine

About the Author
BS/MS
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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