The condition of glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) was first described by Weisenburg (1910)1. GPN is characterized by severe, paroxysmal episodes of pain localized to the external ear canal, the base of the tongue, the tonsil or the area beneath the angle of the jaw. It is caused by a malfunction of the glossopharyngeal (IX) cranial nerve.1 The pain is usually described as sharp, stabbing, and maybe triggered by swallowing, coughing, talking, or chewing.2
GPN is most often caused by a normal artery or vein putting pressure on the glossopharyngeal (IX) cranial nerve at the root entry zone of the brainstem.
In rare cases GPN can be associated with hemodynamic instability such as arrhythmias, hypotension, syncope, and cardiac arrest.3
GPN can also occur as a result of:
- multiple sclerosis or a similar disorder that damages the myelin sheath protecting certain nerves
- a tumor compressing the glossopharyngeal nerve.
- a brain lesion or other abnormalities
- surgical injuries
- facial trauma
Pronunciation of Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia
1. Chalwa, Facloner. Glossopharyngeal and Vagal Neuralgia. Brit. med. J, 1967, 3, 529-531. PDF↩
1. Wang, Tang, Zeng, Ni. Long-term outcomes of percutaneous radiofrequency thermocoagulation for glossopharyngeal neuralgia: A retrospective observational study. Medicine: November 2016 – Volume 95 – Issue 48 – p e5530. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000005530↩
3. Kano, Urgosik, Liscak, Pollock, Cohen-Inbar, Sheehan, Sharma, Silva, Barnett, Mathieu, Sisterson, Lunsford. Stereotactic radiosurgery for idiopathic glossopharyngeal neuralgia: an international multicenter study. JNS Special Supplements, Dec 2016, Vol. 125, No. Supplement 1, pp 147-153. DOI: 10.3171/2016.7.GKS161523.↩