Microvascular decompression is an operation to release the pressure of blood vessels pressing on the trigeminal nerve.
During microvascular decompression surgery, the surgeon will either remove or relocate the blood vessels, separating them from the trigeminal nerve.
For most people, this type of surgery is effective in easing the pain of trigeminal neuralgia and appears to provide the long lasting relief.
However, the operation can cause hearing loss which is estimated to occur in less than 3% of people. Also, it is possible for pain to return after surgery and for surgery to cause a loss of sensation in the face, but this is unusual and often temporary. Very rarely, this type of surgery can result in stroke, meningitis or even death.