DRG Stimulation

What is it?

Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) Stimulation expands the range of neurostimulation options and sets a new standard of care and may help significantly improve your quality of life. DRG stimulation is a FDA-approved system specifically designed to stimulate the DRG. The dorsal root ganglion is a densely-packed cluster where the nerves begin to branch off from the dorsal column, the traditional target of spinal cord stimulation. DRG stimulation is able to target harder-to-reach nerves that can be associated with peripheral nerve pain, such as pain in the feet, legs and arms.

Who is a candidate for DRG?

You may be a good candidate for DRG stimulation if any of the following applies to you:

  • You are experiencing refractory or intractable pain in the arms, legs, or groin.
  • Previous therapies for this pain have been unsuccessful

Complex regional pain syndrome can be difficult to manage, but DRG stimulation is an advanced approach to this difficult pain condition.

What can I expect during the trial?

The procedure is done by a physician under fluoroscopy (xray). You will be receiving sedation through an IV prior to the procedure. You will be brought into the procedure room and lay on your stomach on a special table. Your skin will be cleaned at the injection sites and a local anesthetic will be used to numb your skin. Temporary leads for the DRG will be placed using a small needle along the area of the spinal cord the correlates to your area of pain. Once the leads are placed they will be connected to an external battery and covered by a large bandage. You will get to go home and use the DRG in your daily life for one week. You will be instructed to avoid getting the bandages wet and you will only be allowed to sponge bathe. You will return to the clinic one week following your lead placement for removal of the leads by a nurse. At this time, you will discuss the amount of pain relief you received during the trial. If you decided to pursue an implanted system, we will submit to your insurance company for another prior authorization for the implant.

What can I expect during the implant surgery?

Prior to the implant surgery you will need to obtain a pre-operative history and physical evaluation. You will also need to have a implant education appointment with your TCPC provider. The surgery is performed by a physician under fluoroscopy (xray) at Twin Cities Surgery Center or Fairview Southdale Hospital. You will be receiving sedation through an IV prior to the procedure. You will be brought into the operating room and lay on your stomach on a special table. Your skin will be prepped and cleaned prior to any incisions being made. The permanent leads for the DRG will be placed using a small needle along the area of the spinal cord the correlates to your area of pain. Once the leads are placed they will be connected to an internally placed battery located most commonly in the upper buttock. The surgery is outpatient and you should plan on being at the Twin Cities Surgery Center or Hospital for 3-4 hours.

What can I expect after the surgery?

You will receive an antibiotic to prevent infection. There are certain activities that should be avoided for 6-8 weeks after the surgery to prevent movement of the implanted leads including bending at the waist, twisting, reaching overhead, and lifting more than 5 pounds. You will return to the clinic for a visit with a nurse who will look at your incision site 3-4 days after the surgery. At this time you will be cleared to shower. You will also meet with a representative from the device company who will turn the device on and program it.