OHSU

3D Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to Diagnose Trigeminal Neuralgia

In addition to a thorough medical examination and medical history, you might have imaging tests to help diagnose your facial pain. These tests help us diagnose the source of your pain accurately and plan for surgery if you need it. One technology we use is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Dr. Kim Burchiel and his colleagues have published the results of a special MRI method they use to effectively diagnose trigeminal neuralgia (TN). With this technique, they combine and reconstruct very detailed MR images in three dimensions (3D). These images help your surgeon identify neurovascular (nerve and blood vessel) compression in TN.

To do this type of MRI, your surgeon imports your images into an imaging program where they are combined and reconstructed. This process makes it possible for your surgeon to see the trigeminal nerve, nearby arteries, veins and vessels from any angle. It also allows your surgeon to see all these structures as they will appear in a specific type of surgery.

The resulting 3D images can be used to identify any neurovascular compression. They can help your doctor plan surgery.