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.”
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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.
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The UPMC Department of Neurosurgery is the largest academic neurosurgical provider in the United States. We perform more than 11,000 procedures each year. We treat conditions of the brain, skull base, spine, and nerves, including the most complex disorders. Whether your condition requires surgery or not, we strive to provide the most advanced, complete care possible. Our surgeons are developing new techniques and tools, including minimally invasive treatments. U.S. News & World Report ranks neurology and neurosurgery at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as among the best in the country. We also rank among the top neurosurgery departments in the U.S. for National Institutes of Health funding, a benchmark in research excellence.