Neuromodulation of the cingulum for neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury

Case report

John SpoonerDepartment of Neurological Surgery, Section of Functional Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee

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 M.D.
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Hong YuDepartment of Neurological Surgery, Section of Functional Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee

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 M.D.
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Chris KaoDepartment of Neurological Surgery, Section of Functional Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee

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 M.D., Ph.D.
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Karl SillayDepartment of Neurological Surgery, Section of Functional Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee

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 M.D.
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Peter KonradDepartment of Neurological Surgery, Section of Functional Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee

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 M.D., Ph.D.
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✓The authors present a case in which high-frequency electrical stimulation of the cingulum using standard deep brain stimulation (DBS) technology resulted in pain relief similar to that achieved with cingulotomy and superior to that achieved with periventricular gray matter (PVG) stimulation.

This patient had a complete spinal cord injury at the C-4 level and suffered from medically refractory neuropathic pain. He underwent placement of bilateral cingulum and unilateral PVG DBS electrodes and a 1-week blinded stimulation trial prior to permanent implantation of a pulse generator. During the stimulation trial, the patient's pain level was assessed using a visual analog scale, and pain medication usage was recorded. During this period the patient was blinded to stimulation parameters. Stimulation of the cingulum provided better pain control than PVG stimulation or medication alone.

The authors believe that cingulum stimulation can benefit patients with severe neuropathic pain that is refractory to other treatments. Advantages over cingulotomy include reversibility and the ability to adjust stimulation parameters for optimum efficacy.

Abbreviations used in this paper:

DBS = deep brain stimulation; PVG = periventricular gray matter; VAS = visual analog scale.
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