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J Dermatol. 2014 Jun;41(6):525-8. doi: 10.1111/1346-8138.12490. Epub 2014 May 8.

Trigeminal trophic syndrome: report of a case and review of the published work.

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Department of Dermatology, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan.


Trigeminal trophic syndrome is a rare complication of trigeminal nerve injury that causes facial ulceration, anesthesia and paresthesia in the same trigeminal dermatomes. We present a case of a 65-year-old woman with a history of meningioma resection 18 years prior who presented 16 years later with an intractable ulceration around her left nasolabial sulcus. Pain and light-touch sensations around the ulcer were decreased. She admitted to frequent manipulation due to a crawling sensation. A skin biopsy showed acanthotic changes and a decreased number of peripheral nerve fibers. Trigeminal trophic syndrome was diagnosed. Carbamazepine was not effective, and the ulcer persisted at 7 months after the initial presentation. We reviewed 36 English-language publications from 2003 to 2012, and analyzed 61 cases of trigeminal trophic syndrome, including this patient. The mean age was 53.3 ± 19.7 years (range, 6-91). The right side of the face was more commonly affected (57%) than the left side. The ala nasi were involved in 48 cases (79%), followed by the cheek in 17 cases (28%). A corneal lesion was observed in 11 cases (18%), suggesting the importance of ophthalmologic consultations. The two major etiologies were trigeminal nerve ablation (18 cases; 30%) and cerebrovascular accidents (18 cases; 30%). The latent period ranged from days to 30 years. Gabapentin and carbamazepine were frequently administrated with variable efficacy. Application of thermoplastic dressings or negative pressure wound therapy demonstrated favorable outcomes. Surgery was an option with a high recurrence rate. Trigeminal trophic syndrome remains a clinical challenge.


craniotomy; review; therapeutics; trigeminal nerve injuries; trigeminal trophic syndrome

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