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Neurosurgery. 2006 Jan;58(1):112-9; discussion 112-9.

Peripheral neurostimulation for treatment of intractable occipital neuralgia.

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1
Department of Neurosurgery, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA. kslavin@uic.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Medically intractable pain caused by occipital neuralgia (ON) can be very difficult to control with traditional pain management. Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) may serve as a good alternative to destructive surgical manipulations used currently for the treatment of severe ON.

METHODS:

We analyzed records of 14 consecutive patients (9 women and 5 men; mean age, 43.3 yr) with intractable ON treated with PNS during the period from April 2002 to November 2004. Five patients had unilateral and nine had bilateral PNS electrodes inserted for trial, which was considered successful if patient reported at least 50% decrease of pain on the visual analogue scale. Ten patients proceeded with system internalization, and their long-term results were analyzed.

RESULTS:

At the time of the last follow-up examination (5-32 mo, mean 22 mo), seven patients (70%) with implanted PNS systems continue to experience beneficial effects of stimulation, including adequate pain control, continuous employment, and decrease in oral pain medications intake. Two patients had their systems explanted because of loss of stimulation effect or significant improvement of pain, and one patient had part of his hardware removed because of infection.

CONCLUSION:

Overall, the beneficial effect from chronic stimulation in our series persisted in more than half of the patients for whom procedure was considered and in 80% of those who significantly improved during the trial and proceeded with internalization. Thus, chronic PNS may be a safe and relatively effective method for long-term treatment of chronic pain syndrome in patients with medically intractable ON.

PMID:
16385335
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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