UAE: Doctors cure Emirati patient of long-term trigeminal neuralgia

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on July 8, 2021 | Last updated on July 8, 2021 at 10.21 am

Supplied photo

Supplied photo

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from the face to the brain.

Doctors at Tawam Hospital have successfully treated an Emirati patient suffering from a 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 can experience significant pain from any mild stimulation of the face like brushing teeth or putting on makeup.

Identified as Ibrahim, the patient’s journey began with him experiencing acute pain, which he described as warm and like sharp needle punctures to the left half of his face that occurred when he was eating, drinking, brushing his teeth and even sometimes talking.

After seeking medical consultation at Tawam Hospital in Al Ain, the Emirati’s condition was diagnosed by Dr Ali Hassan, consultant neurologist, and sedative drugs were prescribed 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 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 his case 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.

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.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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