Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cephalalgia. 2011 Nov;31(15):1542-8. doi: 10.1177/0333102411424619. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Prevalence of trigeminal neuralgia and persistent idiopathic facial pain: a population-based study.

Author information

  • 1University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.



To estimate the lifetime prevalence of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and persistent idiopathic facial pain (PIFP) in a population-based sample in Germany.


A total of 3336 responders of 6000 contacted inhabitants of the city of Essen in Germany were screened using a self-assessment questionnaire. 327 individuals, who reported recurrent facial pain and randomly selected 150 (5% of 3009) screening negative subjects, received a phone interview by one of six neurologists and if necessary a face-to-face examination. Those with suspected TN or PIFP following the phone interview underwent neurological examination by two neurologists who were unaware of the presumed diagnosis. A random group of 25 (10% of 247) phone interview negative subjects was examined face-to-face. All suspected cases of PIFP received otorhinolaryngological examination and diagnostic cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In TN patients the number of vessel-nerve contacts was determined by thin-slice cranial MRI.


Lifetime prevalence of TN was estimated to be 0.3% [10 of 3336; 95% CI 0.1-0.5%], of PIFP 0.03% [1 of 3336; 95% CI < 0.08%]. Thin-slice cranial MRI detected five vessel-nerve contacts and no symptomatic lesions in the 10 TN patients.


This large population-based study revealed that TN and PIFP are rare facial pain disorders.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk