Masticatory problems after balloon compression for trigeminal neuralgia: a longitudinal study1

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Idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia (ITN) is a chronic neuropathic pain that affects the masticatory system. The objective of this study was to identify orofacial pain and temporomandibular characteristics, including temporomandibular disorder (TMD), in a sample of 105 ITN patients treated with compression of the trigeminal ganglion. The evaluations occurred before, 7, 30 (1 month), 120 (3 months) and 210 days (7 months) after surgery. The Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (RDC/TMD), the Clinical Questionnaire (EDOF-HC) and Helkimo Indexes were used. Findings before neurosurgery were used as control for parameters. McNemar test and variance analysis for repetitive measurements were used for statistical analysis; 45·3% of the edentulous patients presented severe dental occlusion index; numbness was an important masticatory complaint in 42·6%; mastication became bilateral, but its discomfort continued during all period; headache and body pain reduced after surgery; TMD, present in 43·8% before surgery, increased but normalized after 7 months; jaw mobility compromise was still present, but daily activities improved after 7 months. We concluded that: (i) ITN relief reduced headache, body pain, depression and unspecific symptoms; and (ii) TMD before surgery and at 7 months suggests that this may be a contributory factor to patients' pain complaints.

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