Idiopathic trigeminal neuropathies: a presentation of 15 cases

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2009 Nov;67(11):2364-8. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2009.04.079.


Purpose: The aim of this study is to present a clinical series of patients with trigeminal neuropathy and their treatment.

Patients and methods: We present a retrospective study of 15 cases of idiopathic trigeminal neuropathies, with unilateral involvement of 1 or more divisions of the trigeminal nerve. The clinical, radiologic, and laboratory data of the patients, in addition to the treatment and clinical evolution, were reviewed. The patients were followed up for a mean of 34.4 months (range, 12-120 months).

Results: The study consisted of 11 women and 4 men. The numbness was predominantly located in the innervated mental area and extended in some cases to the first and second trigeminal divisions. Seven patients had slight continuous discomfort in association with the numbness, one of whom had added bouts of typical neurogenic pain. Of the 15 cases, 8 (53%) had acute idiopathic trigeminal neuropathies and fully recovered within 3 months and 7 (47%) were chronic cases, without full recovery after 3 months. Mild pain was felt by 57% of the chronic patients and 37% of the acute patients; treatment with amitriptyline achieved complete or partial improvement in over half of these patients.

Conclusion: Of the idiopathic trigeminal neuropathies, half were acute and half were chronic. Mild pain presented more frequently in the chronic patients and was relieved with amitriptyline.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amitriptyline / therapeutic use
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use
  • Cohort Studies
  • Facial Pain / complications*
  • Facial Pain / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypesthesia / complications*
  • Hypesthesia / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensation Disorders / complications*
  • Sensation Disorders / drug therapy
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / classification
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / complications*
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / drug therapy
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Amitriptyline