Treatment of deafferentation pain by chronic stimulation of the motor cortex: report of a series of 20 cases

Acta Neurochir Suppl. 1997;68:54-60. doi: 10.1007/978-3-7091-6513-3_10.


Twenty patients with deafferentation pain were treated by chronic stimulation of the motor cortex. The central fissure was localized using stereotactic MRI and the motor cortex was mapped using intra-operative somatosensory evoked potentials. Seven patients with trigeminal neuropathic pain experienced definite pain relief varying between 40 and 100%. Ten patients had central pain secondary to central nervous system lesions. A satisfactory long-lasting pain control (pain relief > 40%) was obtained in five of them (50% of cases). One patient with pain from peripheral nerve injury obtained more than 80% pain relief. Two patients had pain from spinal cord lesions. One did not respond but the other obtained an excellent long-term result. The location of the effective stimulation plots was in agreement with the somatotopic maps of the primary motor cortex. One patient developed a small extradural haematoma which resolved spontaneously. None of the patients developed seizure activity. This study confirms the potential value of motor cortex stimulation in the treatment of certain forms of intractable pain, especially in cases with trigeminal neuropathic pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afferent Pathways / physiopathology*
  • Aged
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / physiopathology
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / therapy
  • Cerebral Infarction / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Infarction / therapy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Management*
  • Paraplegia / physiopathology
  • Paraplegia / therapy
  • Quadriplegia / physiopathology
  • Quadriplegia / therapy
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Thalamic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Thalamic Diseases / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / physiopathology
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / therapy