Neuromodulation in Postherpetic Neuralgia: Case Reports and Review of the Literature.

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Abstract

Objective

Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is common in the United States. Current treatment options for PHN are fairly limited. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) are considered mostly experimental and still rarely performed in patients with PHN.

Design

Two case reports and a review of the literature.

Setting

Tertiary academic medical center.

Methods

1) Pubmed, Ovid, and EBMR databases were searched for all reports that had the following key words: postherpetic neuralgia, spinal cord stimulation, and peripheral nerve stimulation. 2) A retrospective chart review was performed for all the patients that underwent PNS for PHN at Mayo Clinic Florida (MCF).

Results

There were 20 original reports that described 309 patients with PHN who were treated with SCS. Sixteen reports had a permanent implantation of SCS, with a total of 255 patients, out of which 120 had long-term pain relief. There were six reports of subcutaneous PNS for PHN (in a thoracic area). Four reports provided data on success rates where all five patients received complete pain relief. In our practice, two patients underwent subcutaneous PNS for PHN (in the thoracic area) with good pain relief for 10 months and 2.5 years, respectively.

Conclusions

Based on our review of the literature and the two cases at MCF, subcutaneous PNS seems to be a promising intervention in the treatment of PHN.

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