Current Issue - January/February 2012 - Vol 15 Issue 1


  1. 2012;15;27-33Peripheral Nerve Stimulation for Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain
    Case Reports
    David A. Stidd, MD, Adam L. Wuollet, MD, Kirk Bowden, DO, Theodore Price, MD, Amol Patwardhan, MD, PhD, Steve Barker, MD, PhD, Martin E Weinand, MD, Jeffrey Annabi, MD, and Emil Annabi, MD.

Facial pain is a complex disease with a number of possible etiologies. Trigeminal neuropathic pain (TNP) is defined as pain caused by a lesion or disease of the trigeminal branch of the peripheral nervous system resulting in chronic facial pain over the distribution of the injured nerve. First line treatment of TNP includes management with anticonvulsant medication (carbamazepine, phenytoin, gabapentin, etc.), baclofen, and analgesics. TNP, however, can be a condition difficult to adequately treat with medical management alone.

Patients with TNP can suffer from significant morbidity as a result of inadequate treatment or the side effects of pharmacologic therapy. TNP refractory to medical management can be considered for treatment with a growing number of invasive procedures. Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) is a minimally invasive option that has been shown to effectively treat medically intractable TNP.

We present a case series of common causes of TNP successfully treated with PNS with up to a 2 year follow-up. Only one patient required implantation of new electrode leads secondary to electrode migration. The patients in this case series continue to have significant symptomatic relief, demonstrating PNS as an effective treatment option for intractable TNP.

Though there are no randomized trials, peripheral neuromodulation has been shown to be an effective means of treating TNP refractory to medical management in a growing number of case series. PNS is a safe procedure that can be performed even on patients that are not optimal surgical candidates and should be considered for patients suffering from TNP that have failed medical management.