Implantable spinal cord stimulator to treat the ischemic manifestations of thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger's disease)

J Vasc Surg. 1999 May;29(5):928-35. doi: 10.1016/s0741-5214(99)70221-1.


Thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger's disease) is a segmental inflammatory vasculitis that involves the small-sized and medium-sized arteries, veins, and nerves. It is causally related to tobacco use. The diagnosis is usually made on the basis of the presence of distal arterial disease in individuals who smoke and in whom other disease entities have been excluded. The most effective treatment for Buerger's disease is smoking cessation. Without strict adherence to tobacco avoidance, disease progression is likely. Methods to control ischemic pain include medications, sympathectomy, or surgical revascularization. The effect of sympathectomy is unpredictable, and the chances of a successful revascularization procedure are rare because distal target vessels often are extensively diseased. Herein, we describe a patient whose condition did not respond to the usual conservative therapy but did respond dramatically to the implantation of a permanent spinal cord stimulator. Although these devices have been used for more than 20 years in various other peripheral arterial diseases, their use in Buerger's disease has been limited.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Electric Stimulation Therapy* / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Hand / blood supply
  • Humans
  • Ischemia / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Skin Ulcer / etiology
  • Skin Ulcer / therapy
  • Spinal Cord
  • Thromboangiitis Obliterans / complications
  • Thromboangiitis Obliterans / therapy*