What is trigeminal nerve decompression?
Trigeminal nerve decompression is a kind of surgery that is conducted in order to treat trigeminal neuralgia, a condition that causes severe facial pain. The condition occurs as a result of damage and inflammation in the trigeminal nerve. It is often caused by a vein or artery that compresses around the nerve.

What are the symptoms?
Some common symptoms of trigeminal nerve decompression include pain in the face, that is often described as feeling like pins and needles or an electric shock. The pain can last for short periods, or can progress to longer, more frequent periods of severe pain.

How does the surgery work?
The trigeminal neuralgia treatment works by preventing the blood vessel from compressing the trigeminal nerve. This stops the nerve from sending pain signals to the brain. During the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision behind the ear in order to expose the trigeminal nerve. If the nerve is being compressed by a blood vessel, it is freed and protected with a small, especially designed sponge, which can stay inside the body permanently after the procedure. Trigeminal nerve decompression surgery is highly effective and works well to relieve pain in most patients.


I am a qualified neurosurgeon following my pre- and postgraduate studies at the University of Stellenbosch and currently have private practices at Netcare N1 City, which caters for the northern suburbs of Cape Town and Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital, which caters for the west coast of Cape Town and Western Cape.


Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital
Tel: +27 (0)21 554 0779 / Fax: +27 (0)21 554 2144

Netcare N1 City Hospital
Tel: 021 595 4633 / Fax: 086 684 8004