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What is a rhizotomy?

Rhizotomy is the medical term for partial cutting of the trigeminal nerve, and what I typically do in this circumstance, which is required in about one out of 10 operations, is to identify the part of the nerve that goes to the lower jawline, the mandibular or third division, and I cut three or four of the nerve fibers in that area.

The trigeminal nerve is made out of 12 to 15 nerve fibers or nerve bundles, so we cut three or four of those in the mandibular region, and people will often have a small area of numbness. But they're trading the severe pain of trigeminal neuralgia for a small areas of persistent numbness, and very often that is far preferable.

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