Dorsal Root Ganglion stimulation (DRG) is an exciting new treatment for patients suffering from the debilitating condition Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
The Dorsal Root Ganglion stimulation (DRG) is a small bundle of nerves which allow pain signals to travel from the lower limbs to the brain. The DRG nerves lie at the posterior root of each spinal nerve and each nerve is connected to every vertebra of the spine.
The Dorsal Root Ganglion stimulation (DRG) is very similar to SCS stimulation in that leads are implanted in the spine under the skin. However, rather than placing the leads in a general region of the spinal cord, DRG stimulation works by placing the leads directly over the Doral Root Ganglion. This targets the specific regions of the spinal cord that are transmitting pain and shuts down those painful signals. The procedure itself for implanting the device is regarded as safe and conducted in such a way as to avoid inflammation or additional pain to the individual. In fact, many may return to normal activities of daily function within several days.
DRG allows for upto four leads per battery which can target different areas and in turn achieve better coverage. In the period after surgery the leads can be programmed to give stimulation based on the pain pattern. Patients go home with a small hand-held controller that switches between stimulation settings.
Dorsal Root Ganglion stimulation (DRG) sends mild electrical impulses to the area of a DRG in the spine. This is said to create a tingling sensation in the specific area where you experience pain reducing levels of pain or can even stop the pain completely.
The Dorsal Root Ganglion stimulation (DRG) is powered by a battery which can be implanted under the skin, tailored to each individual, on the side of the tummy, above the hip or on the upper part of the buttocks. The battery uses small amounts of energy and therefore can last for a long time and much longer than the batteries used in SCS stimulation. As with all types of surgical procedure, there is a risk of complication but with battery life improving all the time the need to undergo surgery for battery replacement is reduced.
DRG stimulation is reversible and is thought not to cause permanent changes or damage to nerves.
Whilst pain reduction varies from person to person, the results coming out of DRG trials are very promising indeed with most people experiencing 80% coverage of the area of pain with a greater than 50% pain relief with further ongoing and continuing improvements in pain levels. Around 80% of everyone undergoing trial respond well to DRG stimulation.
Whilst Dorsal Root Ganglion stimulation (DRG) does not cure CRPS it is thought to offer much improved levels of pain relief than SCS stimulation. Learning to operate the device and taking part in some form of rehabilitation, such as physiotherapy will further improve treatment prospects.
With treatment costs similar to SCS costs we certainly will be keeping an eye on developments with DRG stimulation but all said and done we find the results coming from trials very promising indeed.