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Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) Stimulation

A cutting-edge treatment for neuropathic pain, a severe type of pain that should be treated early and aggressively

Facts and Information about DRG Stimulation

Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation (also known as DRG Stimulation) is a treatment for neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is a severe and lasting type of pain that can start after an injury or surgery. It often causes burning, shock sensations, and extreme sensitivity to light touch.

If untreated, neuropathic pain can lead to other issues like poor concentration, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and depression. People at risk for neuropathic pain should see a pain specialist early on, to start treatment.

Recent studies show that neuropathic pain can improve with DRG Stimulation. This is a cutting-edge treatment that may decrease neuropathic pain in people with:

  • Groin pain after a hernia repair operation
  • Foot or ankle pain after a surgery
  • Knee pain after knee joint replacement or other knee surgeries
  • Hip pain after a hip joint replacement or other hip surgeries
  • Leg pain due to CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)

What is DRG Stimulation?

DRG stimulation is a treatment offered when medications, injections, or other basic treatments fail to relieve your pain. It is a non-destructive treatment that is far less invasive than surgery or nerve ablation (burning) procedures.

DRG Stimulation works bysending electrical pulses to a DRG(a Dorsal Root Ganglion) to block pain signals.

Imagine the DRG as a tiny knob-like group of nerve endings found in your spine. A person has many DRGs, each responsible for pain from a certain body part, like the knee, ankle, groin, etc.

The DRG amplifies and regulates pain signals and plays an important role in the appearance of neuropathic pain.

How is DRG Stimulation Done?

A small medical device (the DRG stimulator) is placed in your back, close to the desired DRG. The DRG stimulator sends electrical pulses to a selected DRG to “turn off” pain.

The procedure has two parts.

  • Part 1 - The Trial

Your pain specialist will first do a trial implant with a DRG stimulator device, placed in your back from a few days up to a week.

  • Part 2 - The Permanent Implant

If you had good pain relief during the trial, your pain specialist will have you return to replace the trial stimulator with a permanent one.

The implants are outpatient procedures typically performed with IV (intravenous) sedation, for added comfort.

Over time, you and your pain specialist can adjust the DRG stimulator device settings to improve pain control.

How Often is a DRG Stimulator Implant Done?

A DRG stimulator implant is a one-time procedure unless pain develops in new areas. An advantage of a DRG stimulator implant is that it can bereversed by removing the device from your back.

What are the Expected Results?

Pain relief usually sets in within a couple of days. After that, you will continue to improve and become more active, with less pain.

How long will pain relief last?

Over 900 patients have been followed in numerous studies spanning over 7 years after their DRG stimulator implants. However, the results vary, with some people having longer pain relief.

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