Motor cortex stimulation for neuropathic pain syndromes: A case series experience

Robert J. Buchanan, David Darrow, Daniel Monsivais, Zoltan Nadasdy, Klevest Gjini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Neuropathic pain is a chronic condition lacking effective management and responding poorly to standard treatment protocols. Motor cortex stimulation has emerged as a new and promising therapeutic tool with outcomes potentially affected by the specific causes and location. In this study we report a series of eight cases in the neurosurgery practice of one of the authors (R.J.B.), including neuropathic pain syndromes of trigeminal or thalamic origin with or without anesthesia dolorosa. Pain relief was evaluated on the basis of comparison of Visual Analog scores at baseline and at 3 months after surgery. In addition, we assessed differences in pain relief outcomes between cases with trigeminal neuralgia and thalamic stroke, as well as cases with or without anesthesia dolorosa (i.e. pain with numbness of the affected area). Visual Analog Scale scores showed a statistically significant decrease of 4.19 (P=0.002) at 3 months follow-up compared with baseline. Pain relief levels in four of five patients in the subgroup with facial pain were higher than 50%, and none of the patients in the subgroup with thalamic and phantom limb pain showed such a good outcome. Furthermore, we found larger pain relief levels in facial pain conditions with versus without anesthesia dolorosa. These results point to utility of motor cortex stimulation in relieving neuropathic pain, as well as better outcomes for patients with facial pain and anesthesia dolorosa. Future studies should incorporate methods to noninvasively trial those patients who may benefit from surgical implantation to predict the outcomes and maximize their negative predictive value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-723
Number of pages3
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 18 2014


  • Anesthesia dolorosa
  • Facial pain
  • Motor cortex stimulation
  • Phantom limb pain
  • Thalamic pain
  • Visual analog scale


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