T12 Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation to Treat Chronic Low Back Pain: A Case Series
SourceNeuromodulation, 23, 2, (2020), pp. 203-212
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
INTRODUCTION: Dorsal root ganglion stimulation (DRG-S) is a neuromodulation technique for treating neuropathic pain syndromes. Research has demonstrated DRG-S to be more effective than conventional SCS in treating RSD/CRPS, particularly of the lower extremities. Results from recent case series and prospective studies suggest that DRG-S may be effective in treatment of pain syndromes considered to have non-neuropathic components and characteristics (e.g. nociceptive). There have been multiple, small studies demonstrating efficacy of DRG-S for axial low back pain. There has, however, been no consensus regarding the best location for DRG lead placement in the treatment of low back pain. METHODS: Patients presenting with refractory low back pain in a private pain management practice were considered for DRG-S. Patients were provided a trial stimulator prior to potential implantation. Per standard practice, pain intensity, disability, general health status, and quality of life were followed using the visual analog scale (VAS), Oswestry Disability Index, EQ-5D index, and the SF-36 survey, respectively. Data were collected prior to implantation and at variable follow-ups after DRG-S initiation. RESULTS: Seventeen consecutive patients presented with predominantly axial low back pain with/without a secondary component of lower extremity pain. All were trialed and subsequently implanted for DRG-S. Leads were placed at T12 to target the low back. Stimulation levels were set very low, below that of which patients experienced paresthesias. Last follow-up times averaged 8.3 months. More than half of the patients experienced pain relief ≥80%, with an average low back pain relief of 78% at last follow-up. Additionally, substantial improvements in physical and mental functioning, disability, and quality of life were reported. CONCLUSIONS: T12 DRG-S can be an effective treatment for chronic axial low back pain. Stimulation results in reduced pain and disability, while improving quality of life. These outcomes can be achieved without paresthesias.
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