Peripheral Nerve Stimulation
The nervous system is a complex network of nerves located throughout the human body. Nerves that are not located on the spine are known as peripheral nerves. When these nerves become agitated, usually due to injury or a medical condition, they send pain signals to the brain. The brain interprets these signals, which results in our perception of pain. Peripheral nerve stimulation is an advanced pain management therapy that blocks pain signals at their source before they can reach the brain.
What is peripheral nerve stimulation?
Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) is a specialized pain treatment that uses electricity to block pain signals. Whereas most other stimulation treatments focus on the nerves in the spine, PNS stimulates nerves at the source of pain.
A tiny lead is implanted under the skin, next to the peripheral nerve causing pain. The lead produces mild electric pulses, which stimulate the nerve and block pain signals before they reach the brain. The lead is activated and controlled via a wireless signal sent from a small, external generator.
The wireless connection and small size of the PNS leads allow them to be implanted just about anywhere in the body.
To ensure the treatment will be effective for you, an outpatient trial procedure is performed prior to the permanent implant procedure. During the trial, a temporary lead is placed at the site of the problematic nerve. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the skin prior to the insertion of the lead. A Twin Cities Pain Clinic physician will place the lead using a special needle under ultrasound or x-ray guidance. The lead is then attached to an external battery. A representative from the device company will turn on stimulation to determine if the lead is in the correct place and if the stimulation feels helpful to your pain condition. Once the stimulation is deemed helpful or not, the lead will be removed by the physician and a dressing will be placed over the insertion site. More than one lead may be placed, depending on the situation.
If the trial is successful, you may decide to proceed with the permanent peripheral nerve stimulator implant. During the implant procedure, a special needle is used to place a permanent lead next to the nerve(s) causing pain. More than one lead may be used in some cases. The leads are controlled wirelessly by a small generator device, which is worn externally.
What can I expect during the implant surgery?
Prior to the implant surgery, you will need to obtain a preoperative history and physical evaluation from a primary care provider. You will also need to have an implant education appointment with your Twin Cities Pain Clinic provider.
The PNS implant is a non-invasive surgery which involves placing one or more thin, flexible leads under the skin directly at the site of the nerve(s) causing your pain. The implant is an outpatient surgery which will be completed by a Twin Cities Pain Clinic physician at one of our surgery centers. The implant process will be very similar to the trial procedure. However, during the implant procedure, one or more small incisions will be made in the skin to insert the lead(s).
After the lead is successfully implanted, the incision will be closed with dissolvable stitches and bandages will be applied.
What can I expect after the surgery?
You will then be brought to the patient recovery area and monitored by a nurse until your anesthesia wears off. You may also receive an antibiotic to prevent infection. At this time, you will meet with a device representative who will program your stimulator.
For your safety, you will need a driver to take you home and a responsible adult over the age of 18 to stay with you for 24 hours.
There are certain activities and movements you will need to avoid for a while after the procedure, to prevent the leads from moving. You will be given specific care and recovery instructions before you are discharged.
You will return to the clinic 10-14 days after the surgery to meet with a nurse or your provider, who will assess your incision sites. A representative may be present for this appointment in the event additional programming or education is needed.
Peripheral nerve stimulation at Twin Cities Pain Clinic
Twin Cities Pain Clinic is one of the premier providers of peripheral nerve stimulation therapy in the Midwest. Our highly specialized pain physicians are clinically trained to administer PNS therapy to treat a variety of chronic pain conditions, including:
Schedule a consultation with Twin Cities Pain Clinic today to see if peripheral nerve stimulation can help with your pain.
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