Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

Frequently Asked Questions on Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

What is peripheral nerve stimulation?

This procedure is an advanced technique that uses an electrode placed under the skin and over the peripheral nerve. It emits low voltage electrical currents that will interrupt the pain signals over a specific region which is usually the head or face. The patient will experience a pleasant buzzing sensation instead of the pain, tingling, or numbness that is perceived. The device is designed to create a sensation that interrupts the signal between the nerve and the brain that sends the pain signal. It can work great for a peripheral nerve dysfunction.

What is it used for?

This procedure is an effective treatment option for some patients experiencing occipital neuralgia or facial pain. It is used for patients with chronic or severe pain that have not responded to other methods. When a patient experiences chronic pain that is severe, it can make them have a hard time functioning normally.

What to expect?

Once your doctor and you have decided that this option is for you, a trial will be scheduled. Before committing to a permanent implant without knowing if it will make a huge impact, a trial will be done to make sure that it will be a favorable procedure. The surgery is minimal and will not require an overnight stay. This procedure will involve the placing of the small device underneath the skin and it sends the signals to interrupt the pain signals.

What results can patients expect from the procedure?

This procedure has different effects on everyone. That is why the trial procedure is so important. After you have undergone the trial stimulation period and found results, you will know that this is the same amount of pain reduction that you will experience. Most patients experience immediate effects because the brain no longer receives the signal that there is pain.

Why have the procedure?

The main purpose is to manage chronic pain that relates to the nerves or to peripheral neuropathy. It is a term for dysfunctional nerves that produce tingling, numbness, or pain. This can be caused by many different conditions include alcoholism, nerve damage, post-herpetic neuralgia, autoimmune diseases, trauma, diabetes, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and refractory angina.

What should I know about the peripheral system?

Each nerve has a specific function. The nerves are classified into sensory nerves, motor nerves, and autonomic nerves. Sensory nerves receive the sensation from the skin regarding temperature, vibration, or pain. Motor nerves control how your muscle moves. Autonomic nerves control the functions like heart rate, digestion, and blood pressure.

What are the signs or symptoms?

Some symptoms include a gradual numbing sensation or tingling sensation in the hands or feet which starts to spread upwards to the arms and legs. Other symptoms can include extreme sensitivity, lack of coordination, and a sharp or burning pain. Some patients even experience muscle weakness or paralysis. If it is an autonomic nerve issue, the patient can experience a heat intolerance or bowel and bladder issues. Some patients experience changes in their blood pressure that may cause dizziness. If anyone is experiencing these symptoms, they should consult their doctor.

References:

Berardoni M.D., Nicole, McJunkin M.D., Tory, & Lynch M.D., Paul. (2007). Peripheral Nerve Stimulation. Retrieved from http://arizonapain.com/pain-center/pain-treatments/peripheral-nerve-stimulation/

 

Saenz MD, Agustina D. (2013). Peripheral Nerve Stimulator – Train of Four Monitoring. Medscape. Retrieved from http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2009530-overview