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Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2007 Aug;11(4):317-25.

An approach to the patient with painful ophthalmoplegia, with a focus on Tolosa-Hunt syndrome.

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  • 1Gladstone Headache Clinic, Toronto, Ontario M2J 1V1, Canada.


The differential diagnosis of painful ophthalmoplegia is extensive and consists of numerous sinister etiologies, including neoplasms (ie, primary intracranial tumors, local or distant metastases), vascular (eg, aneurysm, carotid dissection, and carotid-cavernous fistula), inflammatory (ie, orbital pseudotumor, giant cell arteritis, sarcoidosis, and Tolosa-Hunt syndrome), and infectious etiologies (ie, fungal and mycobacterial), as well as other miscellaneous conditions (ie, ophthalmoplegic migraine and microvascular infarcts secondary to diabetes). A systematic approach to the evaluation of painful ophthalmoplegia can lead to prompt recognition of serious disorders that can be associated with significant morbidity or mortality if left untreated. Inflammatory conditions such as Tolosa-Hunt syndrome and orbital pseudotumor are highly responsive to corticosteroids but should be diagnoses of exclusion.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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