Trigeminal anatomy and central neuropathic pain

Trigeminal neuropathy represents an orofacial chronic pain syndrome that is present continuously, but can also worsen in a paroxysmal pattern spontaneously or after normal non-noxious stimuli such as coldness and stroking the facial skin. The cause of trigeminal neuropathy can be difficult to determine. Somewhere in between the cerebral cortex and the peripheral branches of the trigeminal nerve must be damaged, for example after a cerebrovascular accident.

The research of the trigeminal neuropathy aims to map the white matter tracts that are part of the trigeminal nerve. Using modern day techniques such as high-resolution MRI, fMRI and DTI, we try to obtain a better understanding of the orofacial pain circuits that are involved in trigeminal neuropathy. This knowledge should contribute to a better diagnostic approach and an improved neurosurgical treatment for patients suffering from trigeminal neuropathy.

Research team of this thesis program:

Dylan Henssen, MD/PhD-student
Erkan Kurt, neurosurgeon
Ronald Bartels, neurosurgeon and primary supervisor
Tamas Kozicz, anatomist and primary supervisor
Anne-Marie Cappellen van Walsum, anatomist and committee member
Robert van Dongen, painspecialist and committee member