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​Cranial Nerve Disorders

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A Comprehensive Approach to Treating Cranial Nerve Disorders

At UPMC, our cranial nerve experts use a comprehensive approach and state-of-the-art technology to provide the most advanced treatments for disorders of the cranial nerves, such as:

Because cranial nerve disorders are often difficult to treat, we incorporate a wide range of therapies and specialists with the goal of identifying the most effective regimen for you.

Nationally Recognized Experts

Neurosurgeons at UPMC have been pioneering the treatment of cranial nerve disorders for more than 25 years.

Their expertise has earned UPMC a worldwide reputation for innovative, top-quality patient care and cutting-edge research in this evolving field.

Treating thousands of people with cranial nerve disorders

In the last five years, UPMC neurosurgeons have treated more than 2,000 people with cranial nerve disorders, including more than:

  • 1,100 with trigeminal neuralgia
  • 200 with hemifacial spasm

Developing and improving treatments for cranial nerve disorders

Our neurosurgeons have played a major role in developing and continually improving techniques and instruments for treating cranial nerve disorders, including:

Work with endoscopes has proven especially beneficial, both in optimizing results and minimizing potential damage to sensitive brain structures near the affected nerves.

In addition to this clinical experience, UPMC is actively involved in a number of promising research projects, including:

  • Improved treatment of atypical trigeminal neuralgia.
  • The effects of BOTOX® on hemifacial spasm.

About Cranial Nerve Disorders

Cranial nerve disorders, such as trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm, affect the connections between cranial nerve centers within the brain.

There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves that lead directly from the brain to various parts of the head, neck, and trunk.

Some of the cranial nerves are involved in senses, such as seeing, hearing, and taste. Others control muscles in the face or regulate glands.

Symptoms of cranial nerve disorders

Cranial nerve disorders can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Intermittent attacks of excruciating facial pain
  • Vertigo (dizziness)
  • Hearing loss
  • Weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Facial twitch

Fortunately, UPMC neurosurgeons have extensive experience in treating the full array of cranial nerve disorders.​