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After a decade of suffering he smiled again at 57

B. M. Ramesh, a 57-year-old gentleman, was compelled to take early retirement as he was suffering from excruciating pain on the right side of his face. He had been suffering with this unbearable facial pain for the past 10 years and was under medication for a long period. But nothing really brought him relief and in due course of time even the maximum dose of medication had no effect on him. Since then, he continued to live with his pain, managing by avoiding the precipitating factors, restricting his social life to inside his home and regular medication. He was barely able to speak or chew food as opening the jaw and sensory stimulus to upper jaw triggered the pain on the right side. At times, he even used to keep a piece of wood between his teeth to avoid biting his own tongue due to sheer pain.

B. M. Ramesh was on the brink of contemplating suicide when Dr. D V Rajakumar, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Fortis Hospitals, came to his rescue. He was diagnosed with a neuro disorder called Trigeminal Neuralgia, a disorder of one or both of the facial trigeminal nerves (the fifth cranial nerve or the fifth nerve, is responsible for sensation in the face) and was advised a minimally-invasive surgery for the same. Having suffered for so long, he finally underwent minimally-invasive Microvascular Decompression Surgery by Dr. D. V. Rajakumar which relieved him of his decade long pain.

Trigeminal Neuralgia is one of the worst known facial pains. The pain is paroxysmal or episodic in occurrence, each episode consists of a cluster of lancinating or ‘electric shock’ like pains, severe to excruciating in intensity and lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes. They keep recurring at a variable frequency, leaving a pain-free interval between the episodes.

The pain is usually precipitated by sensory stimulus or a ‘trigger’ such as light touch on that side of face, swallowing food and even talking. Some describe the pain like ‘bursting of a cracker on the face’ or like ‘thrusting an electric solder into the face.’

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