Current Issue - September/October 2022 - Vol 25 Issue 6


  1. 2022;25;E863-E873Treatment Efficacy and Technical Advantages of Temporary Spinal Nerve Root Stimulation Compared to Traditional Spinal Cord Stimulation for Postherpetic Neuralgia
    Retrospective Study
    Mingjie Huang, MD, QiLiang Chen, MD, PhD, Songbin Wu, MD, Jiabin Huang, MD, Wuping Sun, PhD, Shaomin Yang, MD, Xiang Qian, MD, PhD, and Lizu Xiao, MD.

BACKGROUND: Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a common complication after herpes zoster infection. While conventional dorsal column temporary spinal cord stimulation (tSCS) has been shown as an effective treatment option for this pain condition, recent data suggests ipsilateral temporary spinal nerve root stimulation (tSNRS) as a safe alternative for treating PHN. However, there is no direct clinical comparison between the newer tSNRS and the traditional tSCS.  

OBJECTIVES: The current retrospective study aimed to describe the technical factors and the therapeutic efficacy of tSNR for patients with unilateral PHN and to compare these parameters with those treated with tSCS.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

SETTING: Single-center study in a large academic hospital.

METHODS: One hundred sixty patients with unilateral PHN who underwent 7-14 days of tSCS (n = 109) or tSNRS (n = 51) treatment were included. Technical factors between the 2 groups, such as procedure time, radiation dosage, number of electrodes used, number of stimulation parameter adjustments, and average cost, were compared. Treatment efficacy, measured by analgesic coverage, pain visual analog scale (VAS), total analgesic agent consumption, Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI), and physical and mental quality of life, were also compared between the 2 groups at baseline, post-procedure, and 3 months after stimulation treatment.

RESULTS: Patients who underwent tSNRS reported significant improvement in pain level, sleep quality, and overall quality of life immediately postprocedure and during the follow-up period. This therapeutic effect was comparable to the tSCS group. Moreover, tSNRS achieved this therapeutic effect with a fewer number of implanted electrodes and stimulation adjustments than tSCS. The precision and consistency of the tSNRS technique were associated with a significant overall lower cost, a shorter procedure time, and less intraoperative radiation exposure in the tSNRS group than in those who received tSCS.

LIMITATIONS: The current retrospective cohort study was limited by its relatively short follow-up period. Also, the selection of stimulation techniques was not randomized.  

CONCLUSIONS: While tSNRS provides similar therapeutic efficacy compared to tSCS for patients with unilateral PHN; it offers several technical advantages. These advantages include shorter procedure time, less radiation exposure, fewer implanted electrodes, more effective stimulation, and lower overall cost.  

KEY WORDS: Postherpetic neuralgia, temporary spinal cord stimulation, temporary spinal nerve root stimulation, neuromodulation technique, efficacy, retrospective study, safety