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Times of India
09 September 2011
By, Sumati Yengkhom
Kolkata , India

Bollywood actor Salman Khan recently underwent surgery for an extremely painful nerve disorder called Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN). Salman had to fly all the way to US for the treatment. But doctors in a city hospital have recently treated a 73–year–old Bangladeshi national for the same disorder.

City Hospital Treats Rare Nerve Disorder
Abdul Hai was suffering from severe pain on the left side of his face for the past one year. When medication failed to give him relief from the stabbing pain, he visited Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals (AGH), Kolkata where he was diagnosed with TN.

“The patient was treated with stereotactic radio surgery (SRS). We used the framebased SRS technique using BrainLab and Novalis system with 4mm cone to deliver a single fraction of high dose radiation to the root of the trigeminal nerve,” said Dr Arundhati Chakraborty, head of the department, Radiation Oncology.

TN is a neuropathic disorder characterized by episodes of intense pain in the face, originating from the trigeminal nerve. The pain can attack a patient at any time of the day several times and the bout lasts for a few seconds to several minutes or even for hours.

Simple activities like chewing, shaving and even talking can trigger the pain.
“TN is a rare condition and it is often described as the most terrible pain known to men. Earlier patients had no option but to go to developed countries for treatment. Now we have the latest technology to treat this condition,” said Dr B K Singhania, senior consultant neurosurgeon.

“Very few centres in India have the facility. The technique not only needs the most sophisticated equipment like Novalis Tx but also highly skilled doctors and technicians. This is the first time that this type of procedure has been done in the eastern region,” said Dr Rupali Basu, chief executive officer.

Each year approximately four to five persons in 1,00,000 people are affected by TN. Women are more prone to the disorder than men. If conducted by trained hands, the success rate of the surgery is about 90%. In most cases the patient can be discharged on the same day.

The disorder is characterized by episodes of intense facial pain that lasts from a few seconds to several minutes or hours. The episodes of intense pain may occur paroxysmally.

It affects lifestyle as it can be triggered by common activities such as eating, talking, shaving and brushing teeth. Wind, high pitched sounds, loud noises such as concerts or crowds, chewing, and talking can aggravate the condition in many patients.

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