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Prog Neurol Surg. 2011;24:189-202. doi: 10.1159/000323275. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Technical aspects of peripheral nerve stimulation: hardware and complications.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Ill. 60612, USA.


Although commonly used in clinical practice, peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) for treatment of chronic pain is performed mainly with devices developed and marketed for spinal cord stimulation applications. This may be one of the reasons why PNS approach is marked by a very high complication rate, as the anatomy of peripheral nerves and the surrounding soft tissues is quite different from epidural spinal space for which the current devices are designed. The chapter reviews integral components of PNS systems and accessories. It also lists variety of complications observed with PNS approach and points to the ways to minimize their incidence. Based on the literature data and the analysis of the author's experience with PNS procedures it appears that although the rate of complications is relatively high, the morbidity associated with PNS approach is very minor and most problems may be resolved with simple re-operations, usually on outpatient basis. The reduction in complication rate is expected to occur when the hardware used in PNS procedures is appropriately adapted for PNS applications.

Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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