Peripheral Nerve Stimulation
What is peripheral nerve stimulation?
Peripheral nerve or peripheral field stimulation procedures are becoming increasingly popular for the treatment of many causes of nerve-related pain and peripheral neuralgias. This revolutionary treatment works by placing electrodes along the course of painful peripheral nerves to control pain. The stimulation blocks pain perception from traveling from the nerve to the brain. It involves a small device that is placed near the involved nerve that delivers low-level electrical impulses that interfere with the perception of pain, especially chronic nerve pain.
How peripheral nerve stimulation works
Peripheral nerve or field stimulation uses an innovative technology that works by introducing an electrical current to the source of chronic pain. Under local anesthetic and IV sedation, your pain physician will place a stimulator lead along the painful nerves. Patients typically undergo a trial for seven days to see if they feel better and have increased activity with the device.
If pain improves, a permanent electrode and battery can be placed. If the permanent device is placed, soft thin wires with electrical leads on their tips are placed through a needle under the skin. A small incision is made, and the battery is placed under the skin. This device is turned on and releases electrical stimulation to the affected nerves. Your pain will be replaced by a tingle instead of the pain originally felt. The entire procedure takes less than a couple of hours to complete and is done as an outpatient.
The stimulator is so small that you can wear bathing suits and continue normal activities without any inconvenience. The stimulator is not visible and lies under the skin. It is a self-contained system much like a pacemaker.