What Is Microvascular Decompression and How Does it Help?
If you have trigeminal neuralgia, you may feel a sharp, jabbing pain when you brush your teeth or touch your face. At Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic, we treat this and similar cranial nerve disorders with microvascular decompression.
Dr. Lewis has trained with Peter Jannetta who is the modern-day pioneer of the microvascular decompression. He has been performing the procedure for over 30 years and has taught many courses on the various treatments for face pain including the microvascular decompression procedure.
Microvascular decompression is a minimally invasive procedure that offers long-lasting relief of cranial nerve disorders. This surgery has minimal risk of side effects. During the procedure, Dr. Lewis pads, loosens, or removes blood vessels compressing the trigeminal or another nerve.
Microvascular decompression can treat these conditions:
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Glossopharyngeal neuralgia
- Geniculate neuralgia
- Hemifacial spasm
- Similar neurovascular compression syndromes
Before, During and After Microvascular Decompression
Notify Dr. Lewis and the staff at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic if you have any allergies that could affect the surgery, including latex, tape, medications, shellfish, anesthetic, and contrast dyes.
You should also let us know about the following:
- All medications and supplements you take
- Bleeding disorders, blood-thinning medications, and aspirin taken regularly. You may have to stop taking them prior to the procedure.
- Defibrillator, pacemaker, surgical clips, artificial heart valves, nerve stimulators, chemotherapy port, stents, coils, filters, eye or ear implants, medical pumps, or any other implantation device.
Before the Procedure
Typically, you will be required to fast eight hours or after midnight prior to the surgery. We may give you special shampoo to use the morning of your surgery or the night before. If needed, we can provide a sedative before the procedure. Other instructions before surgery will depend on your specific condition and Dr. Lewis’ assessment of your case.
During the Procedure
Conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia derive from pressure on a cranial nerve, in this case the trigeminal nerve. Blood vessels may put pressure on it, causing pain and discomfort.
During the procedure, Dr. Lewis makes a small incision behind your ear to get to the trigeminal nerve. A small piece of the skull is removed to provide access to the trigeminal nerve. Using tiny instruments, he moves arteries touching the nerve and removes veins decompressing it. Additionally, he may place a pad between the nerve and the vessel to keep them apart.
To complete the procedure, Dr. Lewis replaces the bone and sutures the incision. You will be required to stay in the hospital for 1-2 days for observation and healing.
After the Procedure
After the procedure, we will observe your progress. Once you can drink on your own, we remove the IV line. You can have solid and liquid food if your stomach will tolerate it.
Some patients experience nausea and headaches following microvascular decompression surgery. If you are uncomfortable, let your health care provider know. If possible, you will receive medication to help you feel comfortable.
Expect to be in the hospital a few days and arrange for someone to drive you home. Once you go home, you can continue your normal medications, diet, and activities unless Dr. Lewis says otherwise. In general, avoid stressful activity, including exercises until the doctor clears your health.
When to Call the Doctor
Call us immediately if you experience:
- Hearing loss
- Severe headache
- Facial weakness
- Excessive drainage at the incision point
- Extreme pain at the incision point
Contact the Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic if you would like to learn more about microvascular decompression. Call us at (601) 366-1011 today to schedule a consultation. We’ll find a solution that works for you.