A 65-year-old Pennsylvania resident suffered from years of chronic facial pain and could not find relief until he traveled from his home in Harrisburg to undergo a procedure by Mercy Medical Center’s Director of Neurosurgery, Dr. Jeffrey Brown.
According to Mercy spokesman Mel Granick, Walter Jaypak had been suffering from trigeminal neuralgia, a condition characterized by episodes of searing pain that can last anywhere from a few seconds to many hours. He had no success in treatment with drugs often prescribed for the condition, and then he heard about the percutaneous balloon compression available at Mercy.
“The procedure is performed under general anesthetic, with a small catheter carrying a deflated balloon at its tip inserted in the skin just above the mouth and guided to the trigeminal nerve,” Brown explained. “Once properly positioned, the balloon is inflated and puts pressure on the nerve and defuses its ability to trigger pain.”
Jaypak said that the pain-relieving effect was immediate and Brown has said that studies show the technique to be successful in more than 90 percent of patients.