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Cranial Nerve Treatment and Surgery Options

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The first treatment approach for cranial nerve disorders is medication.

Unfortunately, medicine does not always help treat these disorders. Many people experience breakthrough pain or suffer undesirable side effects.

In such cases, UPMC surgeons usually recommend microvascular decompression surgery.

Microvascular Decompression Surgery for Treating Cranial Nerve Disorders

Microvascular decompression is a minimally invasive surgical procedure using endoscopes to relieve abnormal compression of a cranial nerve.

The surgery consists of a linear incision behind the ear followed by a craniectomy (bony opening) the size of a silver dollar. Surgeons use an endoscope to detect and separate the area where the blood vessel is pressing on the cranial nerve, leaving a nonstick PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) "pillow" in between.

UPMC's neurosurgeons are among the most experienced in the world in performing microvascular decompression and have been pioneering the treatment for more than 25 years.

Benefits of microvascular decompression

Microvascular decompression for cranial nerve disorders:

  • Treats the cause of the problem
  • Offers the most long-lasting relief
  • Minimizes risk of postoperative side effects, like numbness

Other Treatment Options for Cranial Nerve Disorders

In addition to microvascular decompression surgery, UPMC offers treatment options for cranial nerve disorders not always available elsewhere.

These may include: