What is it?
Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) involves implanting a small electrical device next to a peripheral nerve in order to interrupt pain signals. Following a successful trial, a permanent device, consisting of thin wires with electrical leads on their tips, is placed through a needle under the skin. In addition, a battery is placed under the skin through a small incision. Everything is small enough to remain hidden under the skin. The system can be turned on or off by the patient using a remote control.
In addition to nerve injuries, a peripheral nerve stimulator implant is often used to treat conditions such as CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome), lower back pain, and intractable headaches. Don’t let the thought of “electrical current running through your body” get in your head. Though the procedure may sound intimidating, many patients have found significant relief using this implantation treatment.
How Long does the Procedure Take?
The trial procedure, performed on an outpatient basis, takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes and is followed by a short period of observed recovery. The procedure to implant the long-term device is performed by a surgeon in an outpatient surgical setting and, generally, takes about two hours. The peripheral nerve stimulator implant is usually permanent but can be easily reversed. Batteries will need to be replaced every few years, but this is a simple procedure.
What are the Expected Results?
The peripheral nerve stimulator implant is usually permanent but can be easily reversed. Batteries will need to be replaced every few years, but this is a simple procedure.