Peripheral Nerve Stimulation (PNS) is used to treat neuropathic pain, or pain that stems from a damaged or diseased somatosensory nervous system. PNS uses a small electrode implanted near one of the peripheral nerves to provide rapid electrical pulses. These peripheral nerves are outside the spinal cord and run from the spinal cord to the limbs and organs. Although the peripheral nerves are normally responsible for transmitting pain signals to the brain, the electrical pulses interrupt these pain signals in order to relieve neuropathic pain.
Did You Know?
PNS devices are composed of three main components: a battery or power source, a thin wire connected to the electrodes that delivers electrical pulses to the nerve, and a remote control device that allows the settings to be adjusted by the patient.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Am I a candidate for Peripheral Nerve Stimulation?
You may be a candidate for peripheral nerve stimulation if you have neuropathic pain that can be traced back to a specific peripheral nerve and have tried other more conservative treatments with little to no success. PNS is ideal for treating:
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS, RSD)
- Diabetic peripheral neuropathy
- Headache disorders
- Iliolinguinal neuralgia
- Intercostal neuralgia
- Lateral femoral cutaneous neuropathy
- Nerve injuries
- Phantom limb pain
- Trigeminal neuralgia
To determine if you are an ideal candidate for peripheral nerve stimulation, schedule a consultation with Ascension Pain Specialists today.
What can I expect when receiving peripheral nerve stimulation at Ascension Pain Specialists?
The first step to receiving peripheral nerve stimulation is a trial run. During the trial, temporary electrodes will be placed along the affected peripheral nerve and an external stimulator will be used to stimulate the nerve. If your pain levels do not significantly improve, then we will simply remove the temporary electrodes. It is important to note that peripheral nerve stimulation will not completely eliminate your pain, however it should significantly reduce its severity.
In cases where your pain levels do improve, we will then place a permanent device. This is done under mild sedation with a local anesthetic. A small incision will be made to insert the wire electrodes and a battery-operated stimulator underneath your skin. These batteries are designed to last for years and can be easily replaced in the future. After the device has been implanted, the electrical pulse settings will be calibrated to relieve your pain. You will only need to wear the external components when you are actively using the device, otherwise they can be removed.
What can I expect after receiving peripheral nerve stimulation?
After the device has been implanted, you will be observed briefly in recovery, then discharged to go home. It is recommended to take it easy that day and to wait until your doctor clears you for returning to your normal activities. In some cases, you may experience some soreness around the implant location.