Spinal cord stimulation of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG-SCS) is a new therapy for treating chronic neuropathic pain. Previous work has demonstrated the effectiveness of DRG-SCS for pain associated with failed back surgery syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, chronic postsurgical pain, and other etiologies through 6 months of treatment; this report describes the maintenance of pain relief, improvement in mood, and quality of life through 12 months.
Subjects with intractable pain in the back and/or lower limbs were implanted with an active neurostimulator device. Up to four percutaneous leads were placed epidurally near DRGs. Subjects were tracked prospectively for 12 months.
Overall, pain was reduced by 56% at 12 months post-implantation, and 60% of subjects reported greater than 50% improvement in their pain. Pain localized to the back, legs, and feet was reduced by 42%, 62%, and 80%, respectively. Measures of quality of life and mood were also improved over the course of the study, and subjects reported high levels of satisfaction. Importantly, excellent pain-paresthesia overlap was reported, remaining stable through 12 months.
Despite methodological differences in the literature, DRG-SCS appears to be comparable to traditional SCS in terms of pain relief and associated benefits in mood and quality of life. Its benefits may include the ability to achieve precise pain-paresthesia concordance, including in regions that are typically difficult to target with SCS, and to consistently maintain that coverage over time.