Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation: A Targeted Approach to Chronic Pain

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has been an excellent tool in interventional pain management for targeting pain conditions that have been refractory to conservative management, interventional therapies, and often surgical interventions. There is strong data for the use of spinal cord stimulation in neuropathic conditions (back and neck pain with radiation), complex regional pain syndrome (formerly called RSD—reflex sympathetic dystrophy), and a variety of other conditions.

In 2016, the FDA approved Dorsal Root Ganglion stimulation in the United States, which is an exciting new implantable treatment that targets a part of the nerve clusters, called the Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG). These nerve clusters are key to modulating pain signals travelling to the brain, so it makes sense to target and quiet them directly. Traditional spinal cord stimulation and DRG stimulation are similar in some aspects—they both involve placement of thin leads inserted into the epidural space, but in DRG stimulation, they are placed directly on a specific cluster of nerves without affecting motor nerves. This is particularly beneficial, because it allows to target a very focal area of the body, especially the foot, leg, knee, and abdomen. There is also some success in treating chronic pelvic pain, which has traditionally been a challenging condition to management. The ACCURATE study demonstrated superiority of DRG stimulation to traditional spinal cord stimulation in certain conditions.

As with any intervention, appropriate patient selection is key to success. Abbott (formerly St. Jude), allows only DRG-certified physician, such as myself, to perform the procedure. A trial is always conducted to ensure that the intervention is beneficial to the patient. If you are interested in learning more about DRG stimulation, I would be happy to discuss it more with you! We look forward to seeing you and exploring how this exciting technology could significantly improve your quality of life.

Here is a great video about DRG Stimulation, and how it could benefit you!