Atypical Facial Pain: a Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Review Article

Full Text via DOI: 10.1007/s11916-017-0609-9 PMID: 28251523 Web of Science: 000397211900001

Cited authors

  • Weiss, Austin L.; Ehrhardt, Ken P.; Tolba, Reda


  • Purpose of Review The purpose of this article is to focus on an excruciating disorder of the face, named atypical facial pain or persistent idiopathic facial pain (PIFP). It is considered an underdiagnosed condition with limited treatment options. Facial pain can be a debilitating disorder that affects patients' quality of life. Up to 26% of the general population has suffered from facial pain at some point in their lives. It is important to highlight the different types of facial pain to be able to properly manage this condition accordingly.; Recent Findings Newer interventional modalities such as pulsed radiofrequency ablation (PFR) of the sphenopalatine ganglion, peripheral nerve field stimulators ( PNFS), and botulinum toxin injections have promising results. In summary, more prospective studies such as randomized controlled trials are necessary to explore the possibility of their more widespread use as viable procedures for the treatment of PIFP.; Summary In this review article, we describe the workup and diagnosis of PIFP and highlight recent literature regarding the pathophysiology and treatment of PIFP. PIFP is an excruciating disorder of the face often misdiagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia ( TN) However, unlike TN symptoms, the pain is persistent rather than intermittent, usually unilateral, and without autonomic signs or symptoms. When a clinician encounters a patient with neuropathic facial pain whose symptoms are incongruent with the more common etiologies, the diagnosis of atypical facial pain must be entertained. Treatment of PIFP is multidisciplinary. Unfortunately, few randomized controlled trials for the treatment of PIFP exist. However, there are a select number of pharmacological, non-pharmacological, and interventional treatment options that have proven to be moderately effective.


Publication date

  • 2017

Published in


International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1531-3433


  • 21


  • 2