FAQs on Peripheral Nerve Stimulation in Colorado

 

Peripheral nerve stimulation is a form of interventional pain management in which electrodes are placed along the peripheral nerves for pain control. These devices are efficient, safe, and effective for alleviating a variety of painful neuropathic conditions.

How does the peripheral nerve stimulation device work?

The electrodes are placed along the peripheral nerves and connect to a battery-powered device, which is implanted under the skin. The device sends pleasant tingling sensations to the nerves via the electrodes. The pleasant sensations and stimulation of sensory pathways trick the brain into turning off pain signals. This offers much pain relief to people with chronic pain conditions.

How do I prepare for this procedure?

Before having the peripheral nerve stimulator implanted, you will meet with the pain management specialist to review your problems. The doctor will ask questions about your medical history, conduct a physical examination, and ask about your medications. Because bleeding can occur, be sure and hold all blood-thinning agents for 5-7 days. A mild sedative or general anesthesia is used, so you cannot have anything to drink or eat after midnight the day beforehand. Wear loose-fitting clothing to the medical facility, and leave all valuables at home.

What is involved in the peripheral nerve stimulator procedure?

Nerve stimulation is a two-step process. The first step is a temporary trial electrode, which is left in place for a week to determine if the stimulator will help. The procedure involves placement of a tiny electrode near the peripheral nerve, which attaches to the stimulator worn outside the body. The patient can resume usual activities of daily living, which includes work, exercise, and household duties. Once the doctor agrees that you need the device, the permanent placement procedure is scheduled.

What happens during the peripheral nerve stimulation procedure?

Most peripheral nerve stimulation procedures are done as outpatient surgeries with a local anesthetic and sedative. Once the spine region is cleaned using an antiseptic, the skin and deeper tissues is numbed using an anesthetic. A tiny incision is made over the spine, and the tiny electrodes are positioned. Wires are threaded from the electrodes to the lower abdomen. The doctor makes a tiny incision and places the stimulator under the subcutaneous tissue. After connecting the wires to the device, and testing the stimulator, the incisions are closed with sutures

What conditions are treated with peripheral nerve stimulation?

Conditions treated using the peripheral nerve stimulation include:

  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Ilioinguinal neuropathy
  • Intercostal neuralgia
  • Lateral femoral cutaneous neuropathy
  • Painful nerve injuries
  • Painful peripheral neuropathies
  • Painful peripheral neuropathies
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Trigeminal neuropathic pain
  • Peripheral vascular disease neuropathy
  • Painful nerve injuries
  • Occipital neuralgia
  • Postamputation stump pain

What are the benefits of the peripheral nerve stimulator?

The implanted device produces a mild, low-voltage electric current, which creates a sensation that blocks the brain’s ability to sense perceived pain. This interferes with the perception of pain by creating a pleasant sensation that will replace pain. The stimulator intensity is changeable, and the system can be turned on and off. In addition, the peripheral nerve stimulator treats chronic neuropathic pain.

Does peripheral nerve stimulation work?

Peripheral nerve stimulation is an effective, safe pain treatment measure that works by inhibition of nociception (perception of pain). Patients who receive peripheral nerve stimulation will experience significant improvement in pain intensity. In a recent study, 73% of the patients had improvement of pain, and were able to decrease use opioid medications.

Resources

Slavin KV, Colpan E, Munawar N, et al. (2006). Trigeminal and Occipital Peripheral Nerve Stimulation for Craniofacial Pain: A Single-institution Experience and Review of the Literature. Neurosurg Focus, 21(6).

Risti D, Spangenbert P, Ellrich J (2007). Analgesic and antinociceptive effects of peripheral nerve neurostimulation in an advanced human experimental model. Journal of Pain.