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Peripheral Nerve Stimulation (PNS)


You may be a candidate for PNS if other treatments, such as medications, physical therapy, epidural steroid injections or nerve blocks have not reduced your pain. We’ll perform a PNS trial to see how you respond. If your pain is relieved, we’ll implant a permanent system — a mini power source placed under the skin on your abdomen or upper buttock.The device is small and cannot be seen underneath clothing. After the system is in place, we’ll fine-tune the settings to make sure they are at the optimal level for your disorder. You’ll receive complete instructions in the use of the system’s controller, so you may regulate the level of stimulation to match your daily activities and maintain pain control.

Procedure Details and Expectations

The “trial run” to determine if PNS 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 along the affected peripheral nerves.
  • 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 PNS 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 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 the treatment 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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