This page is dedicated to organizing various examples of standardized exam questions whose answer is trigeminal neuralgia. While this may seem a odd practice, it is useful to see multiple examples of how trigeminal neuralgia will be characterized on standardized exams (namely the boards and the shelf exams). This page is not meant to be used as a traditional question bank (as all of the answers will be the same), however seeing the classic “test” characterization for a disease is quite valuable.
KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS CONDITION (ON EXAMS)
When it comes to standardized exams, each topic has its own “code” marked by key buzzwords, lab findings, clues, etc. If you are well versed in this code you will be able to more quickly identify the condition that is being discussed, and get the right answer on the exam you are taking. Below is the “code” for trigeminal neuralgia.
- Severe facial pain:
- Quality: sharp, shooting
- Precipitants: touching face, eating, brushing teeth are all classic examples.
Question # 1
A 62 year old man complains of an extremely severe, sharp, shooting pain in his face when he touches a specific area. The pain lasts for about 60 seconds . His neurological exam is normal, however the patient refuses to let the physician touch his face from fear of having pain.
Explanation # 1
Sharp shooting facial pain + precipitated by touching = trigeminal neuralgia
Question # 2
Explanation # 2
TESTABLE FACTS ABOUT THIS TOPIC (BEYOND ITS IDENTIFICATION)
Many questions on standardized exams go beyond simply recognizing the underlying topic. Often there are specific testable facts regarding some aspect of the topic’s pathophysiology/management/clinical implications that are commonly asked. Some of these are listed below:
- Treatment: Carbamazepine (works by increasing sodium channel inactivation)
Page Updated: 03.08.2017