Our surgeons are among the most experienced in the world in treating an array of neurosurgical conditions.
Read about the members of our surgical team >
Geniculate neuralgia is a condition where a small nerve (the nervus intermedius) is compressed by a blood vessel.
This results in severe, deep ear pain which is usually sharp—often described as an "ice pick in the ear"—but may also be dull and burning, and can be accompanied by facial pain.
This pain can be triggered by stimulation of the ear canal, or can follow swallowing or talking.
Doctors will typically prescribe treatment with medication before recommending surgery. If surgery is required, UPMC’s neurosurgeons may recommend Microvascular Decompression. Microvascular decompression is a surgical procedure that relieves abnormal compression of a cranial nerve.
Your physician will perform a physical exam and will ask about your symptoms.
Symptoms may include:
Several medications are available to treat geniculate neuralgia, including:
Surgery is reserved for those patients who are not helped by drug treatments or who experience undesirable side effects from them.
UPMC neurosurgeons typically recommend microvascular decompression and cutting the affected nerve. This procedure has minimal side effects.
How can we help you?
Schedule anappointment >
Ask a question >
Request our expertopinion >
1-877-986-9862(within the U.S.)
LEARN MORE >
Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by
A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.
For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.
UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.
Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.
For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com