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Pain. 2005 Nov;118(1-2):43-52. Epub 2005 Oct 7.

Motor cortex stimulation for refractory neuropathic pain: four year outcome and predictors of efficacy.

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Department of Neurosurgery, CHU Saint-Etienne, Bd Pasteur, 42055 Saint-Etienne cedex 2, France.


Thirty-one patients with medically refractory neuropathic pain were included in a prospective evaluation of motor cortex stimulation. The long-term outcome was evaluated using five variables: (a) rate (percentage) of pain relief, (b) pain scores as assessed on VAS, (c) postoperative decrease in VAS scores, (d) reduction in analgesic drug intake, (e) a dichotomic (yes/no) response to the question whether the patient would accept, under similar circumstances, to be operated on again. Pain relief was rated as excellent (>70 % pain relief) in 10 % of cases, good (40-69 %) in 42 %, poor (10-39 %) in 35 % and negligible (0-9 %) in 13 %. Intake of analgesic drugs was decreased in 52 % of patients and unchanged in 45 % (unavailable data in 3 %), with complete withdrawal of analgesic drugs in 36 % of patients. Twenty-one patients (70 %) declared themselves favourable to re-intervention if the same beneficial outcome could be guaranteed. Neither preoperative motor status, pain characteristics, type or localisation of lesions, quantitative sensory testing, Somatosensory Evoked Potentials, nor the interval between pain and surgery were found to predict the efficacy of MCS. The level of pain relief, as evaluated in the first month following implantation was a strong predictor of long-term relief (regression analysis, R=0.744; p<0.0001). These results confirm that MCS can be a satisfactory and durable alternative to medical treatments in patients with refractory pain, and suggest that the efficacy of MCS may be predicted in the first month of therapy.

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