Current Issue - May/June 2024 - Vol 27 Issue 4


  1. 2024;27;213-222Targeted Nerve Root Stimulation Alleviates Intractable Chronic Limb Pain Associated with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome - A Prospective Multi-Center Feasibility Study
    Prospective Study
    Ricardo Vallejo, MD, PhD, Michael A. Fishman, MD, Binit Shah, MD, Philip Kim, MD, Ramsin Benyamin, MD, Francesco Vetri, MD, PhD, Dana M. Tilley, PhD, and David L. Cedeno, PhD.

BACKGROUND: There are limited therapeutic options to treat complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Spinal cord stimulation and dorsal root ganglion stimulation are proven therapies for treating chronic low limb pain in CRPS patients. There is limited evidence that stimulation of dorsal nerve roots can also provide relief of lower limb pain in these patients.

OBJECTIVES: To demonstrate that electrical stimulation of dorsal nerve roots via epidural lead placement provides relief of chronic lower limb pain in patients suffering from CRPS.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective, open label, single arm, multi-center study.

SETTING: The study was performed at the Center for Interventional Pain and Spine (Exton, PA), Millennium Pain Center (Bloomington, IL), and the Carolinas Pain Center (Huntersville, NC). It was approved by the Western Institutional Review Board-Copernicus Group Institutional Review Board and is registered at (NCT03954080).

METHODS: Sixteen patients with intractable chronic severe lower limb pain associated with CRPS were enrolled in the study. A standard trial period to evaluate a patients’ response to stimulation of the dorsal nerve roots was conducted over 3 to 10-days. Patients that obtained 50% or greater pain relief during the trial period underwent permanent implantation of a neurostimulation system. The primary outcome was the evaluated pain level after 3 months of device activation, based on NRS pain score relative to baseline. Patients were followed up for 6 months after activation of the permanently implanted system.

RESULTS: At the primary endpoint, patients reported a significant (P = 0.0006) reduction in pain of 3.3 points, improvement in quality of life, improved neuropathic pain characteristics, improved satisfaction, and an overall perception of improvement with the therapy. Improvements were sustained throughout the duration of the study up to the final 6-month visit.  

LIMITATIONS: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic occurring during patient enrollment, only 16 patients were enrolled and trialed, with 12 being permanently implanted. Nine were able to complete the end of study evaluation at 6 months.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this short feasibility study confirm the functionality, effectiveness, and safety of intraspinal stimulation of dorsal nerve roots in patients with intractable chronic lower limb pain due to CRPS using commercially approved systems and conventional parameters.

KEY WORDS: Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), dorsal nerve root (DNR), neuromodulation, lower extremities chronic pain