Manuel Valdez is accustomed to taking the two-and-a-half hour flight from his home in the Dominican Republic to visit family members in Miami. He also travels to see his internal medicine specialist, Juan Nunez Medina, MD at Cleveland Clinic Weston for ongoing medical care.
So, when Manuel experienced increasing pain on the side of his face in September 2022, he contacted Dr. Medina who prescribed pain medication. Unfortunately, the pain didn’t subside; instead, it continued to worsen.
Despite trying different medications, the pain became unbearable. Unable to eat solid food, Manuel’s wife would blend his meals. Sleep was nearly impossible.
Dr. Medina advised Manuel to fly to Miami as soon as possible. Upon his arrival, Manuel immediately went to the Emergency Room at Cleveland Clinic Weston Hospital where he was treated for pain and underwent a number of tests.
Manuel was referred to board-certified neurologist, Anam Baig, DO, who specializes in trigeminal neuralgia.
In most cases, trigeminal neuralgia is caused by an artery or vein compressing the trigeminal nerve, close to where it enters the brain stem. Dr. Baig told Manuel the pain from trigeminal neuralgia typically lasts for short periods of time, unlike the constant, intense pain he was experiencing.
After ordering an MRI, Dr. Baig found the cause of Manuel’s debilitating pain: a small, benign and uncommon tumor on the left side of his trigeminal nerve.
Dr. Baig consulted with her colleague, Hamid Borghei-Razavi, MD, Director of the Minimally Invasive Cranial and Pituitary Surgery Program at Cleveland Clinic Florida. A board-certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Borghei-Razavi specializes in minimally-invasive neurosurgical techniques.
“I felt absolutely no pain after the procedure. I was so glad I didn’t need to take prescribed pain medication anymore and very grateful for the team of doctors and nurses who cared for me.”
After a comprehensive examination and discussing options with the patient, Dr. Razavi performed a minimally invasive craniotomy for resection of the tumor that was causing Manuel’s trigeminal neuralgia on January 31, 2023.
“This is not an easy surgery, but it can provide a very good outcome for patients, which was the case for Mr. Valdez,” Dr. Borghei-Razavi says. “It completely changed his quality of life.”
After the surgery, Manuel’s face pain was completely gone. He returned home the next day.
“I was impressed by the very small incision Dr. Borghei-Razavi made to remove the tumor,” Manuel says. “I felt absolutely no pain after the procedure. I was so glad I didn’t need to take prescribed pain medication anymore and very grateful for the team of doctors and nurses who cared for me.”
Drs. Baig and Borghei-Razavi collaborate on many patient cases and were extremely pleased to be able to provide such an excellent outcome for Manuel.
“It’s always deeply satisfying when you can improve the life of a patient,” Dr. Baig says.