Until now, the most recent breakthroughs in chronic pain treatments have been largely pharmaceutical. Researchers have been primarily focused on finding new targets for chronic pain and creating medications to “personalize” prescriptions. While this is welcome for many chronic pain patients, others may find that the side effects of these pharmaceutical interventions aren’t worth the limited relief they might experience. Other patients may find no relief in new prescriptions or even pain-relieving procedures. For these patients, a new procedure called DRG (dorsal root ganglion) stimulation may be the answer. To find this intervention in a Texas pain clinic Houston Pain Doctor is offering this revolutionary procedure to local residents.
Location of procedure – Pain clinic Houston Pain Doctor
Pain Doctor’s state-of-the-art facilities in Houston offer this cutting-edge technology and a high standard of patient care that focuses on each individual patient and their personalized pain management plan.
The medical director at Houston Pain Doctor and the doctor who performed the clinic’s first DRG stimulation, says:
“I feel blessed to be able to perform the first DRG stimulation implant in Texas and to be part of the Pain Doctor team in Houston. The patient [on whom the procedure was performed was] suffering from long-term intractable CRPS -1 (RSD) pain of the foot [and] is doing great and is now pain free.”
Our doctors are experts on spinal cord stimulation, the precursor to DRG stimulation. While spinal cord stimulation targets the entirety of the spinal cord, DRG stimulation is more focused on the dorsal root ganglion. The dorsal root ganglion is a bundle of nerves that controls sensory functions. DRG stimulation is able to pinpoint a specific area of pain that may not be relieved with spinal cord stimulation.
DRG stimulation is especially effective for:
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Post-amputation pain (related, in some cases to phantom limb pain)
- Unresponsive neuropathic pain in the groin and lower extremities
Houston pain doctors talk DRG stimulation
Dr. Hui Kang, also of the Houston pain clinic, believes that the more targeted approach of DRG stimulation will result in fewer side effects, noting:
“Dorsal root ganglion stimulation provides a more targeted approach. Being that it is a focused approach, it has less systemic or unintended stimulation versus spinal cord stimulation. The leads are thin and can be placed on particular nerves of interest with less likelihood of lead migration.”
To perform a DRG procedure, the pain management specialist implants electrodes next to the dorsal root ganglion linked to the area of pain. Doctors will also implant a stimulation device that can be programmed outside of the body. The stimulation device runs on batteries that last approximately two to five years.
The electrodes, when prompted, deliver a low electrical current that interrupts pain signals being sent through the dorsal root ganglion to the brain. As with spinal cord stimulation, the pain may be replaced by a pleasant tingling sensation. Unlike spinal cord stimulation, DRG stimulation patients report more gentle tingling or even no noticeable tingling at all.
St. Jude Medical Axium™ Neurostimulator System
The Houston pain clinic utilizes the St. Jude Medical Axium™ Neurostimulator System that was specifically designed for the purpose of DRG stimulation.
Improving quality of life is a priority at Pain Doctor, and DRG stimulation seems to be able to do just that. In data from a long-term clinical trial, DRG stimulation provided greater pain relief and treatment success for patients experiencing intractable pain than did traditional spinal cord stimulation (74% with DRG stimulation as compared to 53% of spinal cord stimulation patients reporting pain relief).
Additionally, patients receiving DRG stimulation reported little or no increased tingling sensations in treatment areas. Thirty-three percent more patients receiving DRG stimulation reported better targeting and pain relief than those patients receiving spinal cord stimulation (94% for DRG stimulation and compared to 61% for spinal cord stimulation).
While spinal cord stimulation does provide significant relief for patients experiencing certain types of pain, DRG stimulation is another treatment option for those patients who are unable to find relief.
Dr. Kang looks at this procedure as another weapon in the arsenal in the battle against pain, fighting the battle on more than one front. He noted:
“It’s another proven cutting edge tool we can utilize to help patient who have no other alternative. Furthermore, multiple nerves can be treated with less chance for lead migration versus the traditional spinal cord stimulation.”
Side effects of DRG stimulation
As with any surgical intervention, there is some level of risk. In general, DRG stimulation is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for some chronic pain conditions, including those listed above. It is not known what risks are associated with injecting pain medication in the dorsal root ganglion or spinal cord, but the neuromodulation of DRG stimulation is completely reversible once the device is removed. Minor side effects include a tingling sensation and some risk of infection in the insertion sites. Overall, the procedure to insert electrodes and the stimulation device is considered minimally invasive and safe.
In all, doctors at this pain clinic Houston are very excited to bring this new therapy to patients in the Houston-area.
If you are experiencing intractable chronic pain and are looking for a pain clinic Houston Pain Doctor can help answer your questions and send you in the right direction.
Is DRG stimulation a procedure you would consider?