Management of Atypical Post Surgical Facial Pain

Management of Atypical Post Surgical Facial hurting



Atypical facial hurting is a comparatively rare status impacting the face which is normally chronic and does non carry through the recognized standards of specific facial hurting diagnosings, such as those categorized by the International Headache Society ( IHS ) or the International Association of Study the Pain ( IASP ) .

The hurting frequently has neuropathic characteristics such as allodynia or hyperalgesia, and can be localized or diffuse in presentation, taking to profound hurt and disablement.


This instance study highlights the successful usage of lidocaine 5 % spots as one of the intervention options in a patient with untypical facial hurting following the surgical remotion of basal cell carcinoma affecting glabellar Reconstruction.


A important betterment in the patient’s hurting mark was recorded utilizing the Numerical Rating Scale. There was more than a 60 % decrease in allodynia and hyperalgesia combined with betterment of facial symptoms. The lidocaine 5 % spots besides resulted in a decrease in the figure of episodes of hemifacial cramps, which had been holding a profound psychological consequence on the patient’s temper and behavior. In add-on, there was an overall functional betterment, including activities such as lavation, chew and oculus gap.


A 56-year-old lady presented to our chronic hurting services in 2014 after being referred from the section of Maxillo-facial surgery. The patient had marks of facial neuropathic hurting following surgical deletion of a basal cell carcinoma in the left maxillary part and glabellar Reconstruction, 9 months antecedently in October 2013.

Showing Features:

The patient complained of an implicit in dull hurting to the left side of the face with episodic radiation of self-generated hiting hurting to the brow and to the left temporal country which was associated with ptosis and hemifacial cramp. The most distressful symptoms manifested as hypersensitivity to touch in the signifier of terrible allodynia and hyperalgesia. Associated characteristics included numbness of the left side of her face and blepharospasm of the left oculus.

Of relevancy, she besides reported holding mild episodic prickling and numbness of the left side of her face pre-operatively. Her hurting had been present for about of approximately 9 months duration.The patient was reviewed by a brain doctor who ruled out any grounds of Trigeminal Neuralgia, Ocular Myasthenia or any malignant lesion affecting the craniofacial constructions. MRI scans of the caput and cervix were normal, with no grounds of intracranial or spinal cord lesion.

She was besides seen by an eye doctor who was non able to offer a specific diagnosing and deferred consideration of public presentation of a tarsorraphy process for her ptosis, as the diagnosing was ill-defined.

In add-on, all blood consequences and nerve conductivity surveies were normal.

Past Medical History:

Ms MF had a past medical history of high blood pressure and a mild chronic clogging air passage disease due to smoking. Her exercising tolerance was good with no grounds ischemic bosom disease.

Drug History:

Treatment at the clip included antiepileptics ( carbamazepine 600 milligram ) , antidepressants ( amitriptyline 25 milligram ) , opioids ( tramadol 400 mg/day ) , buprenorphine spots ) and NSAID’S with minimum benefit.

Social History:

Ms MF lived entirely and was unemployed. Her functional position was normal and she had good exercising tolerance. The patient was dying and frustrated with respects to the current state of affairs and she felt rather incapacitated due to the diagnostic uncertainness and besides the partial efficaciousness of her on current curative government.

Individually, with respects to her overall degree of map, the facial hemispasms were associated with an ongoing ptosis of her left oculus and this caused a minor grade of ocular damage.


On scrutiny, the face was symmetrical and there was no obvious ocular abnormalcy, color alteration or puffiness or marks of infection/inflammation

There was clear grounds of allodynia to light touch accompanied by hyperalgesia to trap asshole affecting the full bow caput. The contra-lateral side of the face was normal except for a grade of decreased esthesis of the brow. Craniofacial scrutiny was otherwise normal. There was noevidence of bulbar or pseudo-bulbar paralysis. Cranial nervus scrutiny with was normal with no grounds of upper or lower motor nerve cell of the lesion of the facial nervus.


Ms MF was ab initio offered pregabalin which she was non happy with as she had tried before with no positive consequence. She was non acute on increasing her antiepileptics either.

In our multidisciplinary clinic we incorporate a biopsychosocial attack to patient direction. This typically includes the prescription of medicines, the usage of injection based therapy, physical therapy and besides psychological attacks to direction. In position of underlying anxiousness and depression we referred her for single Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

Individually, with respects to medicine, our first-line agent in this instance was the anticonvulsant drug pregabalin, nevertheless, the patient refused farther unwritten medicine due to old deficiency of benefit. Indeed, we besides advised dose decrease of opioids ( tramadol ) in a staged mode due to miss of efficaciousness.

Following, we offered her lidocaine 5 % spots to be applied to her face ( 12 hours on/12 hours off ) for a period of 2 hebdomads.

The Lidocaine 5 % spots were continued ab initio for a 6 hebdomad period and monitored by her general practician.

There was a important betterment in her symptoms with a decrease in hurting strength of over 60 % . Her facial cramp besides reduced and she found it easier to open her left oculus. Up till now the patient remains on lidocaine 5 % spots and has besides reported an betterment in her temper and overall map.


Atypical facial hurting is a diagnosing of exclusion ( REF ) after other organic pathologies of caput, face and spinal column have been ruled out and the hurting is Typically of at least six months continuance.

There is a grade of uncertainness with respects to the optimum nomenclature for untypical facial hurting, which may be due to engagement of the sympathetic or centripetal constituents of the nervous system ( REF ) and hence lead to symptoms of facial Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome ( CRPS ) , or pure neuropathic facial hurting ( REF ) .

Atypical facial hurting is frequently uninterrupted in nature with variable strength and patients often describe hurting or firing esthesiss ( REF ) . CRPS of the face seems to hold a wider distribution of hurting along with a more diffuse form of distribution. [ 1 ]

The prevalence of orofacial hurting is between 10 and 50 % and adult females are more normally affected between the ages of 30 and 50 old ages ( REF ) .

Common causes of chronic orofacial hurting include trigeminal neuralgy, malignant neoplastic disease, temporomandibular articulation disfunction, vascular concerns like megrim, untypical toothache, multiple induration, station viral infection or malignant neoplastic disease. [ 2 ]

Basal cell carcinoma:

Basal cell carcinoma ( the primary pathology in our patient ) is a type of non melanoma tegument malignant neoplastic disease which chiefly is caused by inordinate exposure to sunlight ensuing in harm to the tegument and the environing tissues ( REF ) . This type of malignant neoplastic disease is slow turning and seldom causes of distant metastasis or decease ( REF ) .

Atypical facial hurting as a consequence of basal cell carcinoma or any other destructive lesion impacting the centripetal constituent of the fifth or the 7th nervus can show “atypically” with marks non characteristically pathognomonic for trigeminal neuralgy or any other distinctive facial hurting.

The hurting is frequently deep hurting in nature, ill localized and present most of the clip. Specifically, the fits seen in trigeminal neuralgies are absent. It normally is one-sided but can be bilateral ( REF ) .

Having considered the history and presentation of the patient’s symptoms we looked at other possible underlying pathologies as a cause of untypical facial hurting of traumatic beginning or injury induced neuropathy.

Atypical toothache:

Atypical toothache is frequently related to injuries and is considered to be neuropathic in nature with symptoms of combustion and allodynia which are uninterrupted in nature ( REF ) . Neuropathic hurting as a consequence of simple endodontic intervention had an happening rate of 3-13 % . [ 3 ] . Odontalgia was ruled out as the cause of the patient’s symptoms, so, there was no grounds of tooth aching or dental extractions.

Burning Mouth Syndrome:

Burning Mouth Syndrome ( BMS ) is a neuropathic status characterized by firing esthesis of the unwritten mucous membrane without any unequivocal cause ( REF ) . Secondary BMS has assorted causes, which include moniliasis, lichen planus, allergic reactions, hormonal and nutritionary abnormalcies ( REF ) . It besides consequences in altered gustatory sensation ( REF ) and is most prevailing in postmenopausal population ( REF ) .

Trigeminal Neuralgia:

Pain is characteristically one-sided ( although 4-14 % of the instances of TN can be Bilateral. [ 4 ] ) and frequently reported as being an tormenting episodic hurting that lasts a few seconds but can besides be accompanied by a more uninterrupted dull or throbbing hurting ( REF ) . Any innocuous stimulations of the trigger zone may take to terrible hurting ( REF ) . Of relevancy, our patient reported that her symptoms were exacerbated when walking into a headwind. Many of the symptoms in this instance were implicative of trigeminal neuropathy affecting ophthalmic and maxillary divisions, nevertheless the centripetal marks had a more diffuse nature affecting the whole of the brow and were non one-sided. In add-on there was no grounds of compaction of the trigeminal nervus root or dorsal root entry zone ( DREZ ) on imagination.

Post Traumatic Trigeminal Neuropathy ( PTTPN ):

As in the instance of our patient, the history was implicative of surgical injury with some characteristics of Traumatic Trigeminal Neuropathy, which involved allodynia and changeless dorsum land hurting with a much more diffuse form. Surgery was superficial and the hazard of any infra-orbital nervus harm was vague. The hurting of PTTPN is normally one-sided and seldom crosses the midplane ( REF ) .

Trigeminal trophic syndrome:

Trigeminal trophic syndrome is a rare cause of facial hurting following one-sided facial ulceration and frequently accompanied by paresthesia or hurting due to trauma to the centripetal distribution of trigeminal nervousnesss ( REF ) It is largely associated with neurosurgical intercession and may ensue from cerebrovascular accident. Amongst the differential diagnosings, basal cell carcinoma, cutaneal TB or recurrent Herpes Simplex infections must be excluded. [ 5 ]

With respects to paraneoplastic syndromes affecting the nervous system, they are normally associated with implicit in malignances and can be due to intervention with immunosuppressant therapy or anticancer drugs taking to peripheral neuropathies, neuromyotonia or myasthenic characteristics ( REF ) .

Pathophysiological mechanisms:

Ms MF’s instance most likely reflects a procedure of both peripheral and cardinal sensitisation.

Post-surgical injury can take to weave redness along with nervus engagement taking to ectopic discharges from the site of hurt ( REF ) .. Sustained nervous redness consequences in peripheral sensitisation and as a consequence of drawn-out sensory nerve input, it will take to the down ordinance of Na and Ca channels and up ordinance of K channels ( REF ) .. The changeless sensory nerve input consequences in depolarisation in the dorsal horn nerve cells taking to sensitisation of NMDA receptors. [ 6 ] Partial nervus hurt consequences in centripetal axons showing Beta receptors on the membrane with increased sensitiveness to catecholamines. There seems to be a female preponderance and the function of female endocrines like estrogen remains a hazard factor ( REF ) .. Multiple neuropathic mechanisms including increased nociceptor sensitiveness, phenotypic look and ectopic nervous discharges may ensue in loss of segmental inhibitory control and of falling way ways ( REF ) .. Specifically cardinal sensitisation is of cardinal importance in keeping the chronicity of neuropathic hurting characteristics. [ 7 ]

CRPS of the face may reflect a deafferentation mechanism, which produces unnatural sensory nerve input in to the CNS following sensitisation of the nociceptive fibers and neuroplasticity at all degrees of the CNS.


Diagnosing idiopathic or untypical facial hurting can be really disputing due to the multiple mechanisms of peripheral and cardinal sensitisation ( REF ) .. A thorough scrutiny of cranial and spinal nervus pathology has to be excluded including a full ENT scrutiny along with exclusion of any dental pathology ( REF ) .. Indeed, governing out malignance and inflammatory procedures is a critical portion of the scrutiny.

The varied nomenclatures used for the categorization of neuropathic orofacial hurting and the deficiency of consensus amongst universe organic structures besides increases diagnostic complexness ( REF ) . This has a farther impact on the line of intervention followed and can ensue in a grade of uncertainness for hurting doctors worldwide.

Quantitative sensory testing ( QST ) is non invasive method of measuring neuropathic hurting ( REF ) .

Assorted neuropathic showing tools are used for appraisal of neuropathic hurting including Douleur neuropathique 4 ( DN4 ) ; Leeds Assessments of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs ( LANSS ) ; and Neuropathic Pain Questionnaire ( NPQ ) . ( REFs ) .



Treatment of neuropathic hurting is chiefly pharmacological. The drugs routinely used are:


gabapentin 1800-3600 mg/day.

pregabalin 150-300 mg/day,

tricyclic antidepressants ( TCAs ) ,

amytriptilline 10-50 mg/day,

nortryptilline: 10-25mg/day, ( isn’t it the same as Elavil? )

serotonin-norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors ( SSRI ) ,

venlafaxine: 37.5 -150 mg/day,

duloxetine: 30-60 mg/day.

Anticonvulsants are considered have less side-effects than tricyclic antidepressants ( REF ) . nevertheless in many cases combination therapy gives the best results ( REF ) Opioids are effectual in a proportion of instances, nevertheless their long-run prescription for chronic non-cancer hurting is peculiarly controversial ( REF ) and beyond the range of this instance study. Suffice to state, opioids should be prescribed harmonizing to the rules lineations in the British Pain Society guideline on this topic ( REF ) .

Topical Spots:

Treatment of focal neuropathies with topical medicines like 5 % Lidocaine plasters has gained popularity in recent old ages ( REF ) .. The Lidocaine spots were originally licensed for usage in station herpetic neuralgy and painful diabetic neuropathies, but their curative range has widened for other focal neuropathies ( REF ) .

Treatment is effectual in patients with a peripheral constituent to theirpain and they can be used as a monotherapy or in combination with antiepileptics ( REF ) .

The mechanism of action is based on supplying maximal drug concentration to the country affected with minimum systemic soaking up.

Factors impacting soaking up are the thickness of the tegument along with the surface country covered. The usual recommended continuance of application should non transcend more than 12 hours.

The advantages of topical therapy are an acute decrease in focal hurting due to increased effecter site concentration of local anesthetic and assisting cut down polypharmacy associated drug interactions ( REF ) .. Although some surveies have quoted the NNT for decrease in hurting of more than 50 % to be 4.4, its long term efficaciousness still needs to be established. [ 8 ]

and it is possible that theymightbe effectual for orofacial hurting but non of long permanent benefit over a period of old ages. Individually, there besides remains the issue of cost effectivity of topical plasters as they are comparatively expensive and long term direction may be dependant on personal support ( REF ) . Why were lidocaine spots so effectual on this instance? What could be the reason/mechanism?

Minimally Invasive intervention:

Stellate Ganglion Block:

Sympathetically mediated orofacial hurting is a chance [ 9 ] and usage of Stellate ganglion block may be helpful in patients with hurting in the lower portion of the face and cervix. The purpose is to barricade the ganglion located at C7 ( C6? ) degree anterior to the preverterbral facia transporting the fibers from upper limb, cervix and lower portion of the face ( REF ) .

It has been used with considerable success in chest malignant neoplastic disease hurting, station traumatic emphasis upset, stubborn angina and vasculitis ( REF ) .

Stellate Ganglion Block may be effectual as a test therapy taking to decrease in hurting tonss for orofacial hurting.


Atypicalfacial hurting is a diagnosing of exclusion and it may be difficult to wholly eliminate hurting. There is no universally accepted categorization which makes it more ambitious to pull off. There is besides considerable variableness in nomenclatures of untypical facial hurting amongst clinicians.

A multimodal attack is indispensable for aiming all facets of the status because patients might endure from utmost anxiousness and depression as a consequence of an unsure diagnosing.

Pharmacological direction may supply a grade of alleviation and Lignocaine spots may besides be helpful in the short term. However, patient instruction is critical in order to give patients realistic outlooks of curative intercessions and let them to avoid potentially unneeded interventions. Education may hopefully besides facilitate a grade of credence and facilitate battle with active direction techniques within a biopsychosocial model.