Outcome following Implantation of a Peripheral Nerve Stimulator in Patients with Chronic Nerve Pain

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This study evaluated the usefulness of the implanted peripheral nerve stimulator in patients with pain following injury to a peripheral nerve. The patient sample (n = 17) consisted of 7 men and 10 women with a mean age of 48 years (SD = 18 years). The mean follow-up time since implantation of the stimulator was 21 months (SD = 15 months). Workers’ compensation and/or litigation were involved in 11 cases. Peripheral nerve stimulators were placed in the upper extremity in 12 patients and in the lower extremity in 5 patients. Pain relief following implantation was rated as excellent by five patients, good by six patients, fair by four patients, and poor by two patients. A statistically significant decrease in reported pain level was found postoperatively (p < 0.0003). There was no statistically significant difference in postoperative pain level between men and women (p = 0.30), between cases involving workers’ compensation or litigation and those not involving these issues (p = 1.0), or between patients who received an upper-extremity implant and those who received a lower-extremity implant (p = 0.56). Of the 12 patients who were unable to work before the operation, 6 returned to work after the operation. In conclusion, peripheral nerve stimulators can be useful in decreasing pain in carefully selected patients with severe neurogenic pain.

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