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Dorsal root ganglion stimulation can be an effective form of back pain treatment for many of our patients. The dorsal root ganglion (DRG) is a cluster of nerve cells that sits just outside of your spinal canal between two vertebrae, or discs, in your back. This cluster of nerve cells communicates with your nervous system, guiding information that comes from your arms and legs through the spinal cord and onto your brain. The DRG helps you get information such as when you are touching something, whether something is hot or cold, or when you are feeling pain. If the DRG is damaged or irritated, it can create pain that’s not treated through traditional methods. Stimulating the nerves can help block pain signals that are being sent to the brain, providing relief to the patient. This is one of the minimally invasive spine surgery options available in our New Jersey office.
What Conditions Does Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation Treat?
Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation can be an affected back pain treatment for a variety of conditions, the primary one being complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS type 1 and 2). This particular condition can be hard for a spine doctor to treat using methods like medication and physical therapy, so innovative methods such as DRG stimulation can be extremely helpful. It may also be used to treat:
- Failed joint replacement of the knees and hips
- Post-herniorrhaphy pain
- Foot pain
- Phantom limb pain
- Other neuropathic conditions
Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation provides better results than traditional spinal cord stimulation. A recent publication showed that over a 12-month period, patients who suffered from chronic leg pain due to CRPS reported sustained pain relief.
Patients showed a 74.2 percent success rate compared with the 53 percent success rate of patients who received therapy with traditional SCS. The study also showed that over one-third of the patients experienced over 80 percent pain relief without paresthesia. Paresthesia is the tingling sensation linked with tonic SCS.
What Are the Side Effects of DRG Stimulation?
Some risks are associated with dorsal root ganglion stimulation because the stimulating device is planted surgically. This method comes with the risks associated with every surgery, such as bleeding, infection and pain at the surgical site. Not every patient will respond the same way to the procedure. In some patients, there could be a loss of pain relief or painful stimulation.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of DRG Stimulation?
If DRG stimulation is well-tolerated during the trial procedure, it provides a viable option for long-term pain management. It’s especially useful for patients who have chronic pain associated with complex regional pain syndrome and other conditions that are accompanied by acute pain in the back and lower limbs.
Are You A Good Candidate For Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation?
While there are many considerations if this is the right back pain treatment for you, most individuals who have tried more conservative options without much improvement are candidates.
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