Treatment of Central Deafferentation and Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain by Motor Cortex Stimulation: Report of a Series of 20 Patients

J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg. 2016 Jan;77(1):52-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1558419. Epub 2015 Sep 9.


Objective: Motor cortex stimulation (MCS) is an alternative treatment modality for central neuropathic pain, if conservative treatment failed. Study aim was outcome assessment after MCS.

Material and methods: This study is a retrospective case series review of patients who had undergone MCS for central pain (n = 8), deafferentation pain (n = 3) and neuropathic trigeminal pain (n = 9) between April 2001 and May 2011. In all patients, four contact-paddle electrodes were placed in the epidural space overlying the motor cortex via burr hole trepanation under local anesthesia. The follow-up period was 6 months to 6 years. Pain control was assessed by the visual analog scale (VAS).

Results: A total of 22 patients (11 men, 11 women) were treated; after trial stimulation two male patients were excluded for incompliance reasons. The mean patient age was 59.8 years (range: 31-79 years). In the central pain group, three patients reported complete, and four patients satisfactory pain control. In the trigeminal neuropathic pain group, seven patients reported complete, and two patients satisfactory pain control. In the deafferentation pain group, one patient reported complete, and two patients satisfactory pain control. None of the patients showed new neurologic deficits after the MCS.

Conclusions: MCS is an effective treatment modality for central neuropathic pain and trigeminal pain with low morbidity and mortality. Future studies are necessary to evaluate and optimize this treatment option in more detail.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Central Nervous System / injuries*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Denervation
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / instrumentation
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Epidural Space
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex*
  • Neuralgia / therapy*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / therapy*