Open Microsurgical Dorsal Root Ganglion Lead Placement

Neuromodulation. 2019 Dec;22(8):956-959. doi: 10.1111/ner.12905. Epub 2018 Dec 14.


Introduction: Dorsal root ganglion stimulation (DRG) is a new but well-established neuromodulation technique allowing new indications and superiority to pre-existing stimulation techniques such as spinal cord stimulation in selected pain etiologies. Previous surgical procedures in the implantation area pose a challenge for the percutaneous technique and are therefore considered contraindications for DRG stimulation surgery. We describe the successful open DRG electrode placement in two patients with previous surgeries suffering from severe radiculopathy due to foraminal stenosis.

Methods: Percutaneous implantation attempts failed and an open laminotomy/foraminotomy followed by open lead placement was performed. Leads and loops were placed under the microscope, lead location was verified by x-ray during surgery. Leads and loops were kept in position with fibrin glue and fibrin sealant patches. No special tool was required for open lead placement.

Results: In both patients, surgery resulted in lead and loop placement resembling the results seen in percutaneous technique. Programming and stimulation results are similar to observations made following percutaneous techniques in one patient significantly lower stimulation amplitudes were necessary. In 18 and 12 months follow-up, respectively, lead location and paresthesia coverage were stable.

Conclusion: The option of open electrode placement should be taken into account following unsuccessful percutaneous lead placement. A combination of fibrin sealant patch and fibrin glue may be a good option for stabilization of the lead and specially of the strain relief loops in open placement. Knowledge of basic spinal surgery techniques and experience in percutaneous DRG stimulation is necessary to perform this procedure.

Keywords: Dorsal root ganglion stimulation; neuromodulation; neuropathic pain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Female
  • Foraminotomy
  • Ganglia, Spinal* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Microsurgery / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Radiculopathy / etiology
  • Radiculopathy / therapy
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation / methods
  • Spinal Stenosis / complications
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation
  • Treatment Outcome