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Can Sarica, Anton Fomenko, Christian Iorio-Morin, Ajmal Zemmar, Kazuaki Yamamoto, Artur Vetkas, Andres M. Lozano, and Alfonso Fasano

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Can Sarica, Christian Iorio-Morin, David H. Aguirre-Padilla, Michelle Paff, Samuelle-Arianne Villeneuve, Artur Vetkas, Kazuaki Yamamoto, Nardin Samuel, Vanessa Milano, Aaron Loh, Brendan Santyr, Ajmal Zemmar, Andres M. Lozano, and Mojgan Hodaie


Peripheral nerve field stimulation (PNFS) is a tool in the armamentarium of treatment options for trigeminal pain. The efficacy of this modality in mitigating trigeminal pain remains unclear. The aim of this study was to examine the existing literature on PNFS and elucidate pain score outcomes associated with its use in patients with trigeminal pain.


A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed in accordance with the PRISMA framework. The PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus databases were queried on June 10, 2020. Studies reporting pain outcomes in more than 5 adult patients treated with PNFS for facial pain were included. The primary outcome of the study was the mean difference in the visual analog scale (VAS) score from the last follow-up to baseline, and it was analyzed by an inverse-variance, random-effect model. The risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and a funnel plot.


Of the 4597 studies screened for inclusion, 46 relevant full-text articles were assessed for eligibility. Eleven observational cohort studies from the 46 articles were found to be eligible, and reported on a total of 109 patients. In 86% (94/109) of cases, trial stimulation was successful and followed by a permanent system implantation. VAS scores improved by 75% (mean difference 6.32/10 points, 95% CI 5.38–7.27 points) compared to baseline. Seventy-six percent (42/55) of patients became medication free or required lower doses of medications. The complication rate necessitating surgical revision was estimated at 32% per procedure.


These findings support the belief that PNFS provides effective, long-term pain control for trigeminal pain. Statistical heterogeneity was considerable across all studies. Future work should be aimed at conducting double-blind randomized controlled trials to determine the utility of PNFS for treating various forms of trigeminal pain for which limited therapeutic options exist.