History of Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Discussion of How the Understanding of Pathophysiology Guided Treatment

History of Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Discussion of How the Understanding of Pathophysiology Guided Treatment

Alice L. Hung (Johns Hopkins University, USA) and Michael Lim (Johns Hopkins University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5349-6.ch001

Abstract

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a debilitating facial pain disorder with a rich history dating back over a thousand years. From early records of cases with suggestive features, to better descriptions of its symptomatology, to today's well-established diagnostic criteria, TN has evolved from a largely enigmatic condition to a now manageable disease. Paralleling our understanding of its pathophysiology, various therapeutic approaches have been developed, ranging from early medicines alleviating pain, to destructive procedures targeting the trigeminal nerve, to restorative surgery treating the source. As the pathology of TN becomes better understood, more effective strategies can be used to manage this condition. This chapter provides an overview demonstrating the parallel between understanding of the pathophysiology and the corresponding treatments that were developed over the years.
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Early Mentions Of Trigeminal Neuralgia

The very first accounts of TN are unclear. A few key figures have been identified by historians as the earliest people to encounter this mysterious disease. As shown by the selected passages from literature thought to be the earliest descriptions of TN, the unique characteristics of TN have been observed early in history. However, it wasn’t until many years later was TN identified as a distinct disease.

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