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Facial Pain Center Updates

July 2016

Study to test fMRI as a tool for identifying orofacial pain treatment

A clinical trial led by Stephen Haines, MD, is exploring the capacity of fMRI to identify those patients with complex orofacial pain who respond to transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy (TMS). TMS, which creates a magnetic field focused below the surface of the skull, is often used for the treatment of depression, stroke recovery, and migraine. Contact Ariel E. Currie, 612 626-7261 curri105@umn.edu.

International study of TN treatment to open

A new clinical trial will explore the effectiveness of a new medication for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. Led locally by University of Minnesota Health clinician Donald Nixdorf, DDS, the international study is expected to recruit patients in Minnesota in fall 2016. Dr. Nixdorf has recently received awards for his research on trigeminal neuralgia and facial pain, including the American Association of Endodontists Foundation’s 2015 award. He is a co-author of a new report about the potential benefits of delivering botulinum toxin injections as an adjunct therapy for poorly controlled neuropathic orofacial pain. The report appears in Oral Surgery Oral Medicine Oral Pathology Oral Radiology.

Research into skull anatomy may improve treatment approaches

University of Minnesota research into skull anatomy may aid in the refinement of surgical approaches to trigeminal neuralgia. In stereotactic radiofrequency rhizotomy, a surgical treatment for the condition, a surgeon approaches the trigeminal nerve through the foramen ovale at the base of the skull. The research team found significant variation in the shape and size of this feature of skull anatomy, which could affect the surgeon’s ability to navigate the foramen ovale safely. The research team suggests the use of preoperative imaging with 3D head CT to improve treatment decisions.

Andrew Grande, MD, serves on the research team at the University of Minnesota’s Neuroanatomy Laboratory. Dr. Grande is also partnering with the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research to study the fiber tracks of the trigeminal nerve, which could lead to greater understanding about the causes of TN.

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Finding Effective Treatment for Debilitating Facial Pain

The severe pain of trigeminal neuralgia can disrupt patient lives and trigger depression. New surgical procedures and multidisciplinary approaches that take into account the impact of chronic pain are providing relief.

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July 2016

Multidisciplinary Care Approach Resolves Trigeminal Neuralgia in Young Patient

A microvascular decompression procedure and interdisciplinary team-based care helped resolve the multiple physical and psychological factors causing facial pain in a young patient.

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