This article describes a relatively simple surgical procedure which was devised to give permanent relief to patients with tic douloureux and at the same time to avoid producing the extensive area of anesthesia which results from sectioning the sensory root of the fifth cranial nerve. It has been used in a number of severe cases, with complete success in each case, and is reported as an additional aid in the treatment of this painful condition.
While it is true that trigeminal neuralgia may be caused by irritative or progressive lesions deep in the face or in the central nervous system, in most cases the disease is peripheral. A trigger zone of hyperirritability develops in one or more of the terminal branches of the nerve, and it is the stimulation of these nerve endings which induces the paroxysms. The trigger area becomes so abnormally excitable that any slight stimulus, such as