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Neurosurgery. 1997 Apr;40(4):736-46; discussion 746-7.

Deep brain stimulation for intractable pain: a 15-year experience.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Saskatchewan, Regina, Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

During the past 15 years, we prospectively followed 68 patients with chronic pain syndromes who underwent deep brain stimulation (DBS). The objective of our study was to analyze the long-term outcomes to clarify patient selection criteria for DBS.

METHODS:

Patients were referred from a multidisciplinary pain clinic after conservative treatment failed. Electrodes for DBS were implanted within the periventricular gray matter, specific sensory thalamic nuclei, or the internal capsule. Each patient was followed on a 6-monthly follow-up basis and evaluated with a modified visual analog scale.

RESULTS:

Follow-up periods ranged from 6 months to 15 years, with an average follow-up period of 78 months. The mean age of the 54 men and 14 women in the study was 51.3 years. Indications for DBS included 43 patients with failed back syndrome, 6 with peripheral neuropathy or radiculopathy, 5 with thalamic pain, 4 with trigeminal neuropathy, 3 with traumatic spinal cord lesions, 2 with causalgic pain, 1 with phantom limb pain, and 1 with carcinoma pain. After initial screening, 53 of 68 patients (77%) elected internalization of their devices; 42 of the 53 (79%) continue to receive adequate relief of pain. Therefore, effective pain control was achieved in 42 of 68 of our initially referred patients (62%). Patients with failed back syndrome, trigeminal neuropathy, and peripheral neuropathy fared well with DBS, whereas those with thalamic pain, spinal cord injury, and postherpetic neuralgia did poorly.

CONCLUSION:

DBS in selected patients provides long-term effective pain control with few side effects or complications.

PMID:
9092847
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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