Trigeminal Neuralgia: Typical versus Atypical

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a rare nerve disorder that causes painful and often debilitating symptoms in the face and jaw region. Depending on the type of TN, patients with the condition may experience unpredictable burning or shock-like sensations often mistaken for a dental problem.

Only in recent decades has TN been recognized as two different forms, each characterized by its own set of distinctive symptoms. Read below for descriptions of the two types of TN and their key differences:

  • Typical: Typical TN is the most common form. Patients suffer from unpredictable episodes of stabbing, electric shock-like pain in a consistent location. Touching a “trigger point” on the face or performing a specific activity like chewing or talking can cause extreme pain.
  • Atypical: Atypical TN is characterized by a persistent dull ache or burning sensation in one part of the face. However, episodes of sharp pain can complicate atypical TN. Unlike typical TN, there is usually not a specific trigger point for the pain and it can grow worse over time.

Rush Radiosurgery treats typical and atypical cases of TN with stereotactic radiosurgery. Our highly advanced TrueBeam STx® technology delivers targeted beams of radiation directly to the trigeminal nerve, disrupting the pain-causing fibers and sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. Up to 80 percent of patients treated with stereotactic radiosurgery experience lasting pain relief, according to clinical studies.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.