Glossopharyngeal neuralgia is also known as the Wilfred-Harris syndrome. The pain is similar to Trigeminal neuralgia.
It is less common than trigeminal neuralgia. Pain of sudden onset, intense and short duration localised in the tonsils, pharynx, rear part of the tongue and soft palate. It irradiates to the neck and ear. Triggered by swallowing, speech, cough, yawn or chewing. On many occasions there is contact between an artery and the glossopharyngeal nerve.
Surgical treatment, when the drugs are not sufficient to relieve the pain, consists of MICROVASCULAR DECOMPRESSION OF THE GLOSSOPHARYNGEAL NERVE. This is cranial surgery and implies a craniectomy under general anaesthetic, the purpose being to separate the artery touching the glossopharyngeal nerve using a type of cotton called Teflon. The complication rate is low but they may be severe. The probability of improvement is 90% after surgery.