Peripheral Nerve Field Stimulation

Peripheral Nerve Field Stimulation works by using gentle electrical impulses to stimulate a peripheral nerve. These impulses inhibit the pain signals from travelling in the nerve and therefore replace the pain sensation with varying levels of paraesthesia (pins and needles). This treatment involves implanting electrode leads under the skin that are connected to a battery powered impulse generator (IPG). This impulse generator is also secured under the skin and can be controlled remotely via a hand-held controller.

Peripheral Nerve Stimulation is mainly used to treat discrete areas of neuropathic pain, for example pain following nerve injury associated with hernia surgery. A specific type of peripheral nerve stimulation called suboccipital stimulation is now commonly used to treat severe migraines and cluster headaches that persist despite maximal conservative treatment. This particular type of stimulator is discussed further under the section called Occipital Nerve Stimulation.

If your doctor decides that this treatment is appropriate for your condition, a comprehensive trial is performed. This trial involves the insertion of small electrodes under the skin near the affected nerve/s. This is performed as a day procedure with the assistance of an anaesthetist to administer sedation. The electrodes remain in place for approximately one week to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. If significant reduction in symptoms and improvement in functional capabilities result during the trial, a permanent implant may then be considered.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. Northern Pain Centre can facilitate you obtaining a second opinion. Please discuss this with us.