Mapping of sensory responses to epidural stimulation of the intraspinal neural structures in man

J Neurosurg. 1993 Feb;78(2):233-9. doi: 10.3171/jns.1993.78.2.0233.


A database is presented of sensory responses to electrical stimulation of the dorsal neural structures at various spine levels in 106 subjects subjected to epidural spinal cord stimulation. All patients were implanted for chronic pain management and were able to perceive stimulation in the area of pain. All patients entered in this study were able to reliably report their stimulation pattern. Several patients were implanted with more than one electrode array. The electrode arrays were placed in the dorsal epidural space at levels between C-1 and L-1. The structures that were likely involved include the dorsal roots, dorsal root entry zone, dorsal horn, and dorsal columns. At the present time, exact characterization of the structure being stimulated is possible only in limited instances. Various body areas are presented with the correspondent spine levels where implanted electrodes generate paresthesias. Areas that are relatively easy targets for stimulation are the median aspect of the hand, the abdominal wall, the anterior aspect of the thigh, and the foot. Some areas are particularly difficult to cover with stimulation-induced paresthesias; these include the C-2 distribution, the neck, the low back, and the perineum.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / innervation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Back / innervation
  • Buttocks / innervation
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Epidural Space
  • Female
  • Foot / innervation
  • Hand / innervation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain Management
  • Paresthesia / physiopathology*
  • Perineum / innervation
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology*
  • Thigh / innervation
  • Thorax / innervation