Chronic pain affects over 1.5 billion people and can be caused by known or unknown conditions and injuries. A person with unidentifiable chronic pain will often have to endure a process of trial and error to find the cause and treat it. Neurosurgical operations have been successful in treating several different kinds of chronic pain in adults around the country.
For Trigeminal Neuralgia
A form of chronic facial pain, trigeminal neuralgia has been described by patients as being stabbed in the face with an electrical bolt. The pain may last for seconds, disappear, and then return without warning. A neurosurgical operation that can help is microvascular decompression. In this procedure, the trigeminal nerve root is exposed with microsurgery. This allows the neurosurgeon to identify the blood vessel that may be compression the nerve and to gently displace it away from the compression point. Essentially, it is a surgical way to fix a pinched nerve or nerve compression. The procedure’s aim is to reduce sensitivity and allow the trigeminal nerve to recover and return to a pain-free state.
For Cancer Pain
Chronic pain can stem from an underlying medical condition, such as cancer. To relieve the pain, patients can turn to neurosurgery with its ablative methods. Ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that produces lesions with a probe that heats the tissue at its tip. Surgeons can control the lesion size by adjusting the time and temperature of ablation. Cordotomy is a neurosurgical operation that cuts the spinothalamic tract, which transmits pain from the skin to the brain’s sensory detector, the thalamus. The effects of the procedure rarely last more than two years, but for the pain caused by cancer, it is an effective solution.
For Spinal Cord Injuries
Another ablative procedure can be used to relieve the pain caused by a spinal cord injury. This procedure is the process of placing dorsal root entry zone lesions. This entry zone is on the spinal cord, which can also cause pain after cervical avulsion. As many as 60 small lesions are placed along the entry zone with a needle-like probe. Chronic pain from spinal cord injuries can also be treated with spinal cord stimulation, which is a technique that delivers a continuous low-voltage electrical current to the spinal cord to block pain. This neurosurgical operation works because it stops painful impulses from reaching the brain.
If you suffer from chronic pain, it doesn’t mean that you need to suffer for the rest of your life. Ask your doctor about neurosurgical operations that can give you relief in the near future.