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Trigeminal neuralgia

Zahid H Bajwa, MD
Charles C Ho, MD
Sajid A Khan, MD
Section Editors
Jeremy M Shefner, MD, PhD
Jerry W Swanson, MD, MHPE
Deputy Editor
John F Dashe, MD, PhD


Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is characterized by recurrent brief episodes of unilateral electric shock-like pains, abrupt in onset and termination, in the distribution of one or more divisions of the fifth cranial (trigeminal) nerve that typically are triggered by innocuous stimuli [1].

An overview of TN is presented here. Other causes of facial pain are discussed separately. (See "Overview of craniofacial pain".)


The trigeminal nerve (figure 1) is the sensory supply to the face and the sensory and motor supply to the muscles of mastication. It has three major divisions:

Ophthalmic (V1)

Maxillary (V2)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jan 30, 2017.
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