Neurovascular Compression Syndromes

Neurovascular compression syndromes represent a range of vascular compression disorders in which a cranial nerve (a nerve from the brain) is compressed or distorted, usually by a blood vessel. The kind of pain a patient experiences depends on which structure is compressed. Though some of these syndromes can be treated medically, surgical intervention is often required.


  • Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition affecting the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from the face to the brain. Patients with trigeminal neuralgia often deal with spontaneous jolts of extreme pain, worsened or triggered from even minor facial stimulation.
  • Glossopharyngeal neuralgia is characterized by extreme pain in the tongue, ear, or throat. Often triggered by swallowing, glossopharyngeal neuralgia is generally caused by a blood vessel compressing the nerve inside the skull. It will sometimes also occur in patients with throat or neck cancer.
  • Hemifacial spasms are a disorder in which the facial muscles twitch involuntarily, most often because a blood vessel is touching a facial nerve. Other known causes include tumor or injury to the facial nerves.


  • Facial pain
  • Ear or throat pain
  • Facial twitching