Tolosa-Hunt syndrome (THS) is a rare disorder characterized by severe and unilateral headaches with extraocular palsies, usually involving the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth cranial nerves, and pain around the sides and back of the eye, along with weakness and paralysis (ophthalmoplegia) of certain eye muscles.
In 2004, the International Headache Society provided a definition of the diagnostic criteria which included granuloma.
THS is usually diagnosed via exclusion, and as such a vast amount of laboratory tests are required to rule out other causes of the patient’s symptoms. These tests include a complete blood count, thyroid function tests and serum protein electrophoresis.Studies of cerebrospinal fluid may also be beneficial in distinguishing between THS and conditions with similar signs and symptoms.
MRI scans of the brain and orbit with and without contrast, magnetic resonance angiography or digital subtraction angiography and a CT scan of the brain and orbit with and without contrast may all be useful in detecting inflammatory changes in the cavernous sinus, superior orbital fissure and/or orbital apex. Inflammatory change of the orbit on cross sectional imaging in the absence of cranial nerve palsy is described by the more benign and general nomenclature of orbital pseudotumor.
Sometimes a biopsy may need to be obtained to confirm the diagnosis, as it is useful in ruling out a neoplasm.