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DRG Stimulation Therapy

New Jersey Pain Consultants now offers dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation therapy for the treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

The Toll of Chronic Pain

Millions of people worldwide are affected by chronic pain, a much misunderstood and largely undertreated disease. Chronic pain is diagnosed at the point when moderate to severe pain lasts over a month longer than is generally anticipated during recovery from specific surgeries, injuries, or diseases. 90 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from chronic pain according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). According to the American Pain Foundation, total costs due to lost work time and healthcare expenses are estimated at approximately $100 billion per year.

Patients desperate for relief will often turn to inadequate treatments, or struggle with prescription painkillers. In 2002, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has reported an increase of 20 percent in total emergency room visits due to narcotic, analgesic, and drug abuse, totalling 108,320. The largest increase of 298% was reported among the age group from 45 – 54 years old.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

CRPS, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, is defined as a pain that affects a part of the body following trauma or injury. Damaged or malfunctioning nerves are thought to be part of the cause of CRPS. In CRPS, both the central and peripheral nervous systems are affected in how they send pain signals from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. In addition to prolonged or excessive pain, CRPS can also cause mild to dramatic changes in temperature, skin color, and swelling in the affected area. CRPS-I, previously called reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, or RSDS, is diagnosed in patients without a confirmed nerve injury. Patients with a confirmed nerve injury are categorized as having CRPS-II, a.k.a., causalgia.

Spinal Cord Stimulators for Pain Relief

Spinal cord stimulators are similar to cardiac pacemakers. They are implanted devices with a similar form and function, except spinal cord stimulators send electrical pulses to the spinal cord instead of the heart. Described as “pacemakers for pain,” spinal cord stimulators deliver low intensity electrical pulses to activate selective nerve fibers along the spinal cord and thus interrupt pain signal pathways. The stimulation of nerve fibers is theorized to diminish or block the intensity of the pain message being transmitted by the brain, replacing the sensation with a more pleasant tingling that is called paresthesia.

Pain Relief with the Axium™ Neurostimulator System

The first and only neurostimulation device designed specifically for dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation, the Axium Neurostimulator System is a breakthrough in the treatment of CRPS. Using the system, New Jersey Pain Consultants can stimulate a densely populated spinal structure called the DRG directly. The Axium Neurostimulator System allows New Jersey Pain Consultants to target the specific areas of the body where pain occurs for treatment. Traditional spinal cord stimulation has been found lacking for patients with neuropathic chronic intractable CRPS pain. Those patients particularly benefit from the unique advantages of DRG stimulation therapy, which can provide pain relief when other treatment options have failed.

Evidence Supporting DRG Stimulation Therapy

DRG Illustration

The ACCURATE IDE study is the most comprehensive evaluation of patients with neuropathic chronic intractable pain associated with CRPS or peripheral causalgia to date. This study found that between those patients receiving DRG stimulation versus those receiving traditional SCS, a statistically significant advantage in meaningful pain relief and treatment success was demonstrated among those receiving DRG stimulation therapy. In the study, patients received either traditional SCS therapy or DRG stimulation via the Axium Neurostimulator System per randomized assignments, and nearly all patients receiving DRG stimulation reported greater targeting of the stimulation to the pain area, without the extraneous paresthesia experienced by those receiving traditional SCS. Over a third of DRG stimulation therapy patients reported over 80% pain relief with no paresthesia after 12 months.



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