Peripheral Nerve Stimulation and Clinical Outcomes: A Retrospective Case Series

Nafisseh S. Warner, Kalli K. Schaefer, Jason S. Eldrige, Tim J. Lamer, Matthew J. Pingree, Markus A. Bendel, Matthew A. Warner, Richard H. Rho, William D. Mauck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) is a rapidly expanding field within neuromodulation; however, there is limited data on therapeutic efficacy. This study describes the indications and clinical outcomes for patients undergoing PNS for chronic pain states. Patients and Methods: This is a retrospective case series of adults undergoing PNS implantation from 2004 to 2017 at an academic medical center. The primary outcomes were changes in numeric rating scale (NRS) pain scores, opioid utilization in oral morphine milligram equivalent (MME), and self-reported patient functioning at 6 months postoperatively. Infectious and device-related complications were also assessed. Results: A total of 72 patients underwent PNS implantation, including 59 patients that received a preceding PNS trial (59/78; 76% progression rate) and 13 that did not receive a PNS trial. The most common indication for stimulation was occipital neuralgia (47%) followed by lower-extremity neuropathies (17%). PNS implantation was associated with 6-month reductions in pain scores (7 [6, 8] baseline vs. 4 [2, 5] 6 months; P < 0.001) and opioid utilization (eg, median 60 [31, 104] vs. 18 [0, 52] MME among those with baseline opioid use; P < 0.001). Median functional improvement was 73% (50%, 88%). Seven patients (10%) suffered a postoperative surgical site infection at a median of 50 (30, 124) days, of which five devices were removed. Conclusion: Peripheral nerve stimulation was associated with reduced pain scores, lower opioid utilization, and improved patient function at 6 months. These data support PNS as a potentially effective nonopioid analgesic modality in chronic pain, though prospective multicenter evaluation is warranted to evaluate longer-term outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-418
Number of pages8
JournalPain Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • analgesia
  • chronic pain
  • neuromodulation
  • opioids
  • peripheral stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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