Numbness matters: A clinical review of trigeminal neuropathy

Jonathan H. Smith, F. Michael Cutrer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: Trigeminal neuropathies are a group of clinical disorders that involve injury to primary first-order neurons within the trigeminal nerve. We review the spectrum of etiologies underlying both painful and non-painful trigeminal neuropathies, with attention to particularly dangerous processes that may elude the clinician in the absence of a meticulous evaluation. Complications and management issues specific to patients with trigeminal neuropathy are discussed. Methods: Retrospective literature review. Results: Facial or intraoral numbness, the hallmark of trigeminal neuropathy, may represent the earliest symptomology of malignancy or autoimmune connective tissue disease as sensory neurons are destroyed. Such numbness, especially if progressive, necessitates periodic evaluation and vigilance even years after presentation if no diagnosis can be made. Conclusions: In the routine evaluation of patients with facial pain, the clinician will inevitably be confronted with secondary pathology of the trigeminal nerves and nuclei. The appearance of numbness, even when pain continues to be the most pressing complaint, necessitates clinical assessment of the integrity of all aspects of the trigeminal pathways, which may also include neurophysiologic, radiographic, and laboratory evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1131-1144
Number of pages14
JournalCephalalgia
Volume31
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Fingerprint

Trigeminal Nerve Diseases
Hypesthesia
Trigeminal Nerve
Trigeminal Nuclei
Facial Pain
Connective Tissue Diseases
Sensory Receptor Cells
Pathology
Neurons
Pain
Wounds and Injuries
Neoplasms

Keywords

  • secondary headache disorder
  • trigeminal nerve disease
  • Trigeminal neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

Numbness matters : A clinical review of trigeminal neuropathy. / Smith, Jonathan H.; Cutrer, F. Michael.

In: Cephalalgia, Vol. 31, No. 10, 07.2011, p. 1131-1144.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Smith, Jonathan H. ; Cutrer, F. Michael. / Numbness matters : A clinical review of trigeminal neuropathy. In: Cephalalgia. 2011 ; Vol. 31, No. 10. pp. 1131-1144.
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