Robert A. Mericle, M.D.
Department of Neurological Surgery
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
B-1053 Preston Research Bldg.
Nashville, TN 37232-5345
Transcript: What is anesthesia dolorosa?
Anesthesia dolorosa is a fancy name for a painful kind of numbness that some patients have and I think it’s important to talk about it. Generally it’s described as a burning, dull, constant type of pain that’s in the face. That’s very different from the classic shock, stabbing, triggered, electrical kind of pain from the classic trigeminal neuralgia.
Anesthesia dolorosa is more constant, burning, nagging, aching; some people describe it as something crawling under their skin or just a constant nagging. It doesn’t have a sharp stabbing component to it.
Often, when we see patients that have that complaint, they’ve been treated at another institution with Radiosurgery or Gamma Knife or that kind of procedure as sometimes that procedure can cause anesthesia dolorosa. Other destructive procedures can also cause anesthesia dolorosa but I think it’s a little bit easier to control it and to prevent it. When somebody has this kind of pain, I generally recommend that they do not have any further surgery.