Treatments We Provide

Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

Peripheral Nerve Stimulation - APSM

What is Peripheral Nerve Stimulation?

Your peripheral nervous system includes nerves that control sensation, movement, and motor coordination and communicates with the organs, limbs and skin to the brain. If damaged, these nerves can cause excruciating, debilitating pain, tingling, or numbness. This is called peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral nerve stimulation is a treatment that can help many patients suffering from chronic peripheral nerve pain when conservative pain measures did not help. 

Why is Peripheral Nerve Stimulation performed?

Pain from peripheral neuropathy, which can be caused by many conditions, does not often respond well to conventional treatment options. Oftentimes,  patients will turn to opioid medications, but these are not recommended for the treatment of chronic pain. There are many conditions that may benefit from peripheral nerve stimulation including: It has been shown that peripheral nerve stimulation can completely replace opioid pain medications even for post-surgical pain management; it relieves pain for the majority of post-amputation patients and reduces disability; Just 60 days of peripheral nerve stimulation relieved chronic, refractory lower back pain for 12 months. One of the main benefits of peripheral nerve stimulation, other than pain relief,  is that it is low-risk and relatively side-effect free. 

How is Peripheral Nerve Stimulation performed?

During the procedure, your doctor places electrodes along the damaged peripheral nerves to control pain. These electrodes produce a low voltage current which replaces the perception of pain with a tingling sensation. The intensity of the tingling sensation can be changed, and the system can be turned on and off as needed. This provides the best level of pain relief for each patient. Your doctor will carefully place a thin stimulator lead along the painful nerves. This lead is connected to a battery that is barely visible underneath your skin. It is a self-contained system. The stimulator is so small that you can wear bathing suits and continue normal activities without inconvenience. Once turned on, the device releases electrical stimulation to the affected nerves. Instead of pain, you will feel a mild buzzing sensation. Patients typically undergo a trial for seven days to see if they feel better with the device. If pain improves, a permanent electrode and battery can be placed.

What should I expect after Peripheral Nerve Stimulation?

Some potential side effects that may occur include:
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scar tissue
  • Electrode failure
  • Inadequate pain surface area coverage
  • Nerve damage
The entire procedure takes one to two hours, depending on whether or not you receive sedation. Bring a driver with you to drive you home after the procedure and take the day off. Keep the incision dry and clean while it is healing so infection does not occur. Use ice if you experience redness or swelling at the implantation site. You can use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help manage post-operative soreness. If your test device is successful, a permanent device will be placed. After this procedure, your surgical site will take about two weeks to heal. Look for any signs of infection at the site, including drainage, redness, or swelling that does not go away. Fever or a general feeling of being unwell is also a sign of infection. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

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Common Conditions We Treat