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Dorsal Root Ganglion Therapy

Overview

The dorsal root ganglion (DRG) is a small bundle of nerves located just outside the spinal cord. The DRG may be responsible for the over-stimulating the central nervous system, producing chronic pain in other parts of the body. DRG therapy is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure to implant a device that introduces electrical impulses into the dorsal root ganglion (DRG), interrupting pain signals. This therapy can provide pain management in hard-to-treat areas such as the chest, abdomen, groin, hand, foot, or knee. You may be a candidate for DRG therapy if other treatments, such as medications, physical therapy, epidural steroid injections or nerve blocks have not reduced your pain.

Procedure Details and Expectations

The “trial run” to determine if DRG is right for you:

  • You’ll receive a local anesthetic to numb the implant area.
  • Through a small incision, we’ll place very thin wires (leads) under the skin and into the DRG nerve bundle.
  • The leads are connected to a generator about the size of a cell phone. You’ll carry it with you during the trial period.
  • If the DRG proves effective, you’ll return in a few weeks for the permanent power source (generator.)

Implanting the permanent system:

  • This minimally-invasive surgery takes 1 to 2 hours in the hospital while you are under general anesthesia.
  • We’ll make a small surgical incision and place the permanent generator under the skin of your abdomen, lower back or upper buttock.
  • The generator is battery-powered by either rechargeable or long-life batteries lasting 2 to 5 years. Surgery is required to replace the battery.

How to Prepare for Treatment

Although it is minimally-invasive, the procedure is surgical, so we ask you to prepare as follows:

  • Inform us of all medicines you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, such as vitamins and herbal remedies. We’ll let you know which ones are okay to continue taking.
  • You might need to stop taking blood thinners, aspirin and other drugs like Advil, Motrin, Aleve and Naprosyn, which impair blood clotting.
  • If you smoke, stop. Smoking can make your recovery slower and less effective. Ask us about helping you with smoking cessation.
  • We’ll give you full instructions about keeping your stomach empty before the procedure. 
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