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Arch Dis Child 82:311-315 doi:10.1136/adc.82.4.311
  • Article

Neurovascular compression of the trigeminal and glossopharyngeal nerve: three case reports

Abstract

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a frequent cause of paroxysmal facial pain and headache in adults. Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) is less common, but can cause severe episodic pain in the ear and throat. Neurovascular compression of the appropriate cranial nerve as it leaves the brain stem is responsible for the symptoms in many patients, and neurosurgical decompression of the nerve is now a well accepted treatment in adults with both TN and GPN who fail to respond to drug therapy. Neither TN nor GPN are routinely considered in the differential diagnosis when assessing children with paroxysmal facial or head pain, as they are not reported to occur in childhood. Case reports of three children with documented neurovascular compression causing severe neuralgic pain and disability are presented. The fact that these conditions do occur in the paediatric population, albeit rarely, is highlighted, and appropriate investigation and management are discussed.

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