Neurosurgical pain management
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than the normal healing time of diseases or injuries. Persistent pain has lost its natural warning sign and is often accompanied by physical and psychological damages. Chronic pain must be understood as a disease with the development of a pain memory, which often becomes the center of the patients' life.
Who is a candidate for a specific neurosurgical pain management?
After having undergone numerous causal treatments many patients in Germany still suffer from chronic pain. Only one out of 10 patients can be successfully treated on a conservative medical base. If the complaints do not improve after the medical treatment a surgical pain management has to be considered.
What is the purpose of neurosurgical pain management?
The neurosurgical approach strives to achieve a reversible influence on the nerves at the level of the spinal cord, which inhibits the transmission of pain signals.
Depending on the clinical picture, it is also possible to disconnect nerve roots in a small area of sensory nerve branches.
How does intrathecal medication work?
By means of a special catheter system, pain medication in low dosage or antispasmodic agents is infused into the spinal canal. The catheter is connected to a drug pump, which is surgically placed under the abdominal skin. The pump is programmed to slowly release medication over a period of time.
What are the advantages of Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS)?
Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is a pain relief technique and consists of electrodes, which are implanted into the spinal canal. The electrodes continuously transmit low-level electrical signals to the pain inhibiting structures of the spinal cord and generate formication in order to block the sensation of pain. After several days of successful testing, a small power source is surgically implanted under the skin.
SCS often allows a considerable reduction in the use of pain medication.
What is minimally invasive denervation?
Under x-ray guidance, a thin needle is passed towards the targeted nerve(s). Once properly placed, radiofrequency energy is used to disrupt the nerve. This procedure is also used to inhibit the transmission of pain signals after nerve injuries.