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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

Volume 6, Issue 4, August 2016, Article number e35983, 6p.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.5812/aapm.35983. Copyright © Zhou et al.


Background: Subcutaneous peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) has emerged as a useful tool in the treatment of intractable headaches. However, complications such as skin erosion, infection and lead migration have adversely affected clinical outcome, and occasionally led to treatment cessation. Objectives: Here we report the results of peripheral nerve stimulator implantation performed on 24 patients with various chronic headaches at our center over a period of 9 years. We describe the complications of the procedure and their prevention with a modified surgical technique. Patients and Methods:We searched our database for patients with chronic refractory headacheswhohad undergone PNS. Patients were assessed before being considered for PNS, and their pain characteristics were reviewed. Following a successful trial, patients were implanted with a permanent peripheral nerve stimulator. Selection of target nerves was based on headache diagnosis and head pain characteristics. Patients were followed for an average of 4.9 years. Headache characteristics before and after treatment were compared. Results: Twenty four patients were included in the study. All patients reported on improvement in head pain intensity, duration and frequency three months after permanent device implantationMeantotal pain index (TPI) decreased significantly, from 516±131 before the procedure to 74.8±61.6 at the last follow up (P < 0.00001). There were no acute post-operative infections. Three patients had their stimulator removed. The self-rated treatment satisfaction was excellent in 54% of the patients, very good or good in 42%, and fair in 4%. Conclusions: Our results support the use of PNS insomepatients with refractory chronic headaches. Appropriate surgical planning and technique are important to achieve good clinical outcome and to minimize complications. © 2016, Iranian Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ISRAPM). All rights reserved.

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