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Cranial Nerve Disorders

The experts at UC San Diego Health diagnose and treat conditions involving the 12 pairs of cranial nerves that originate from the brain. Cranial nerve disorders can cause symptoms that are challenging to live with on a day-to-day basis.

Symptoms of cranial nerve disorders include:

  • Vertigo
  • Pain
  • Hearing loss
  • Weakness
  • Paralysis

Our dedicated, multidisciplinary team includes Sharona Ben-Haim, MD, J. Scott Pannell, MD, and other experts from the departments of neurology, neurosurgery and otolaryngology. Using the most advanced imaging techniques and technologies, we are able to ensure the highest level of medical care in the treatment and diagnosis of cranial nerve disorders.

The conditions we treat include:

  • Facial pain (including facial neuralgia, anesthesia dolorosa and trigeminal neuralgia)
  • Hemifacial spasm
  • Facial palsy
  • Geniculate neuralgia
  • Glossopharyngeal euralgia
  • Occipital neuralgia
  • Intracranial hypertension
  • Sphenopalatine neuralgia 
  • Tinnitus 
  • Torticollis and spasmodic torticollis
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

Treatment varies depending on the condition.
Our cranial nerve specialists provide nonsurgical treatments, including:

  • Medication
  • Stereotactic radiation
  • Botox injections
  • Glycerol injections
  • Electrocoagulation 

If surgery is an option for you, our physicians are experts in surgical therapies such as:

  • Microsurgical removal of acoustic neuromas
  • Singular neurectomy
  • Posterior canal plugging
  • Vestibular nerve section
  • Endolymphatic sac shunt surgery
  • Vestibular nerve sectioning
  • Cochleosacculotomy
  • Labyrinthectomy
  • Balloon compression
  • Gentamicin chemical labyrinthectomy 

Treatment may also be followed by physical therapy and rehabilitation to restore your strength, activity and well-being.

Online Second Opinions

If you've received a diagnosis that requires neurosurgery and would like one of our neurosurgeons to review your X-rays and other imaging studies, UC San Diego Health offers online imaging reviews. It's an easy and affordable way to help you make an informed decision before neurosurgery. For more information, see Online Second Opinions.


Participate in clinical trials that investigate new therapies and ways for treating cranial nerve disorders. Search for a clinical trial.

Make an Appointment

Call 619-543-5540


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