Visitor Question

Brain surgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia results in major pain…

Submitted By: Rhonda (Des Moines, IA, USA)

I had brain surgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia in Oct. of 2011 at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Following the surgery, my right face is completely numb and my right eye has no corneal reflex.

I also have severe pain upon moving my right eye horizontally and vertically.

I also have severe incapacitating headaches, and I grind and clench my teeth on the right side. This started when I awoke from surgery. I’ve never ever ground my teeth before. I’ve already lost one tooth and several more are affected. All along, I still have the shooting TN pain through out my face.

My neurologist still tries different medications to ease my pain, with no luck. I can not stand the pain, I can not stand my face, I have felt like I want it off.

After the surgery I started seeing an Ophthalmologist in Nov. 2011, every few months. He sent me to Univ. of Iowa in the summer of 2012 and I saw an Optho-Neurologist. I really wanted help with my eye. If not, I literally wanted my eye gone. He could not help me, but said it’s because of the TN.

I pressed on until Dec. when I saw an article about a new surgeon that was in Des Moines, and who had studied under one of the best TN Surgeons in the country. My Neurologist sent me to see him.

My husband and I made the trip up to Mayo Rochester, MN. A fine MRI was preformed. Then I saw the MD in the afternoon. He said, “I’m so sorry Rhonda, you’ve had a stroke in the Trigeminal nerve.” He explained that some blood vessels had bridged into the Trigeminal nerve, and when they removed the blood vessels, I’d had a stroke the entire length of the nerve.

He showed us the MRI pictures, where the nerve was completely ruined. My husband remembers him saying about “nicking a nerve.”

I was in too much shock to remember it all. But I do remember like a recording in my head, he said, “no more surgery could be performed on the nerve, it’s totally ruined.”

Then a bit later they brought in a pain management team and they talked about implanting a deep brain cortex stimulator. They even set up the 1st process in March for me to see a Psychiatrist. Before we left to come home, the doctor said he was so sorry, and we would not be charged for anything that day.

Well, I cried and shook all the home to Des Moines (3+Hrs) and my husband pleaded with me to “not to have the surgery”. We both were pretty shook up. Do I have grounds for Surgical Malpractice? Or is it too late?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Rhonda,

Your case is quite complex. The set of circumstances you present involves very complex medical issues which must be reviewed independently before a reasonable assessment can be made regarding the issue of medical malpractice.

Gather copies of all your medical records, medical bills, test result, x-rays, CT Scans, MRIs, and all other documentation related to your medical issues.

Next, look for personal injury attorneys in your area who specialize in medical malpractice. Often these attorneys will list on their websites the types of cases they’ve handled and results they’ve obtained for their clients.

Fortunately, most personal injury med mal attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. Moreover, if you find an attorney who will accept your case, you will not have to pay any fees at all unless, and until the attorney prevails by either settling your case or winning it at trial.

Learn more here: Lawsuits for Surgical Malpractice

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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One comment on “Brain surgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia results in major pain…

  1. Rhonda says:

    My son has cerebral palsy due to premature birth. He was an honors student functioning in a normal classroom with plans to be a lawyer. He was able to play his Play Station, text friends, dictate college level papers, navigate the internet and much more. In 2011, he had an intrathecal Baclofen pump placed to manage spasticity and dystonia. In 2013 he was deemed to have significant scoliosis and spinal fusion surgery was performed. He was recovering well, without complications, prior to experiencing what he described as a “popping” in his right hip followed by intense pain. He said he could hear the metal scraping against the bone in his ears. For a year his health declined, physically and mentally. We made multiple trips back to his orthopedic surgeon and physio med doctor describing his complaints, our concerns and assessment, which included:

    1. Intermittent elevations in temperature
    2. profuse sweating
    3. tachycardia
    4. exacerbated painful dystonia
    5. Changes in his breathing pattern
    6. delusional episodes
    7. back pain
    8. rashes at the lower back
    9. an opening in an otherwise healed incision that erupted puss and bloody drainage
    10. chronic ear and bladder infections
    11. significant weight loss

    He was treated for UTIs and blamed the delusional episodes on them. The surgeon took X-rays of the spine and said the hardware was not broken. He said the puss and drainage was an erupted suture. Our son became so symptomatic, we returned to the ER concerned of intrathecal baclofen withdraw. They diagnosed such, and surgery was performed to replace the “potentially nicked” catheter. There was no improvement, so another surgery was performed to replace the pump itself. Still no improvement, but now he was leaking large amounts of spinal fluid from his abdominal incision, so he had a third surgery to repair the opening in the dura. Our son never improved and the clinic physicians believed there was nothing else they could do. He was diagnosed with baclofen resistance, and an exacerbated dystonia as a result of the prolonged and invasive spinal fusion surgery. Their only recommendation was deep brain stimulation. We declined, took our son home, and sought out a different orthopedic surgeon. There was no documentation that I could find supporting the baclofen resistance development over the course of a couple months, and he left the initial hospitalization doing very well. His symptoms were more correlated with damage to the hardware and infection. The clinic dismissed these theories and refused to perform a MRI due to the metal hardware.

    After finding other services through an alternate clinic, an MRI was performed that supported broken hardware. While my son was open in the OR, it was noted the rod had been scraping into the right sacrum, necessitating a bone graft. Cultures were obtained of the tissue, bone and hardware. They all came back positive for staph by that night. He was taken back to the OR for removal of the hardware. The surgeon stated that there were many “issues” beyond infection with the instrumentation and its placement.

    Our son was recovering well but due to his immunocompromised state, he developed a secondary infection in the incision that led to a cascading effect causing a prolonged and complex hospitalization. He continues to suffer. He has debilitating contractures, pain, and chronic infections. He has been diagnosed with failure to thrive. He is delusional, angry, and combative. He is in chronic respiratory failure.

    I believe his prolonged condition prior to the proper diagnosis was destructive, and the following complications related to the treatment have continued to damage him. Do you feel this is a failure to diagnose situation resulting in harm? This was a communicative, pleasant, and intelligent young man with life plans that now just lays in a bed, deteriorating.

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