Neurosurgery and Brain Health “Brilliant Surgical Skill:” One Woman’s Recovery from Nerve Pain By Neurosurgery, October 19, 2016 Corde Reed would shut herself in her office when the pain became too great. In her native state of New Jersey, Reed was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a disorder of the trigeminal nerve in the face. Frequent bouts of nerve pain, which she described as “electric shocks,” pulsed down the side of her face, often driving her to tears. Doctors prescribed her pain medications that left her feeling “off-kilter and loopy,” while anticonvulsant drugs kept her in a mental fog. The pain persisted through higher and higher doses of medication. Soon, Reed struggled to do the everyday things that make life worthwhile — caring for her husband and two daughters, walking her dogs. Her facial pain kept her bedridden. “The pain just wouldn’t go away,” Reed said. “I couldn’t function. I couldn’t be a mom. I couldn’t do my job. I felt like my life was not mine, but stolen and controlled by trigeminal neuralgia. I hated it.” So Reed’s doctor recommended she visit Raymond F. Sekula, MD, of the UPMC Cranial Nerve Disorders Program. Many patients with Reed’s condition undergo surgery that leaves them with long recovery times and distinct facial scarring. But Dr. Sekula’s patients typically experience neither. In fact, Reed was released from the hospital in just two days. The procedure, called microvascular decompression, required only a small incision behind the ear. And best of all, she woke up without a trace of the pain that had interrupted her life. Learn more about Reed’s recovery on the UPMC Department of Neurosurgery website.