DRG Stimulation

DRG Stimulation by Abbott

What is DRG Stimulation?

DRG (Dorsal Root Ganglion) stimulation is a new type of neurostimulation therapy  that targets and relieves pain. Nuerostimulation is a technology uses elctrical impulses to interrupt pain signals before they get tot he brain, where you feel them. Traditional neurostimulation has been used safely for decades, but it doesn't always work for people with causalgia or CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome).

DRG Stimulation

If your experiencing intense, focal pain in: the foot, knee, hip, pelvic area, hernia area, or groin that started after an injury or surgical procedure. You might have something called causalgia or complex regional pain syndrome or CRPS. There's no single test for these conditions, but it's very real and probably due to nerve damage that causes pain signals to fire often and for no reason.

When you have this kind of chronic pain, it can be impossible to focus on anything else. Additionally; even more frustrating, these conditions are difficult to treat, so the things that doctors have tried to relieve your pain have not worked in the past. If standard pain management and pain management have not worked, DRG is your next step.

How DRG Stimulation Works

Everyone has clusters of nerve cells along their spine called dorsal root ganglion (DRG). Researchers found that certain groups of DRG nerves correspond to specific areas of the body. For instance, such as the: foot, knee, groin, pelvic or hernia area, and hip, where people experience the pain.

By focusing electrical stimulation specifically on the DRG, we're able to interrupt pain signals before they reach the brain. Therefore, we change them with an electrical pulse, so you don't feel the pain in the same way.

DRG Stimulation Three Parts:

The Generator - a small device that sends out mild electrical pulses, which contains a battery. This is implanted in your body.

The Leads - thin insulated wires that carry the electrical pulses from the generator to the nerves in your dorsal root ganglia. These are placed in your body in the area of the DRG.

The Patient Controller - a handheld "remote control" on a digital device (such as a cell phone) that allows you to adjust the strength and location of stimulation, within prescribed settings, or even turn stimulation off.

Who is DRG Stimulation for:

Pain Still after Limb Loss

30-85% of patients experience chronic pain in the limb that was amputated. Patients that still experience pain beyond the normal healing time (6 months or more) may need to have Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) done. 

Knee Pain after Surgery

The knee area contains multiple nerves. While having knee surgery; even with the utmost care and most advanced technique, a nerve can be injured. In addition, nerve pain is extremely painful and can heavily impair your quality of life. 

After Hernia Repair Surgery

8.5% of patients will experience chronic pain following a hernia repair surgery. You may need it if your pain lasts longer than the normal healing time (six months or more). 

Other Areas of the Body

Although these three areas are very common; Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) is not just limited to these areas. We treat patients with focal chronic intractable pain; due to CRPS, that before DRG Stimulation, that couldn't have effectively been treated before. 

Common Questions:

Will Neurostimulation cure my pain?

Neurostimulation is not a cure for pain, but it is a therapy that can help reduce your pain, but it is a therapy that can help reduce your pain to a manageable level and help you return to a more normal lifestyle.

What are some of the restrictions I may have with an implanted system?

Your doctor will give you detailed information about restrictions and activities with your system. However; as a general rule, it is important to restrict the amount of: bending, twisting, and reaching you do for the first six to eight weeks of surgery. This is the time the healing is taking place around the leads. There are also some permanent restrictions associated with receiving a neurostimulation system. For example, neurostimulation recipients cannot have diathermy therapy.

What are some of the risks associated with the procedure?

The placement of the leads is a surgical procedure that exposes you to certain risks. Complications such as: infection, swelling, bruising, and possibly the loss of strength or use in an affected limb or muscle are possible.

Will my insurance cover the the DRG system?

The DRG stimulation system is typically covered by most major insurance plans.

Will I be able to reduce my pain medications?

Every patient responds differently. Many patients are able to decrease the number of pain pills they take every day while other patients are able to change the type of medication they take.

How do I know that DRG Stimulation works?

DRG Stimulation

152 people with chronic pain in their lower limbs (CRPS) resulting from nerve injury or surgical procedures were enrolled in the largest neurostimulation study ever conducted in these types of patients. After more than a year, the results showed DRG stimulation is the best option for this type of pain.