Occipital Nerve Stimulation for Refractory Pain after Occipitocervical Fusion
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Occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) is electric stimulation of the distal branches of the greater occipital nerve by cylindrical or paddle leads implanted in subcutaneous occipital tissue. This surgical option has emerged as a promising treatment for different types of disabling medical refractory headache and recently also for residual occipital and nuchal pain after previous occipitocervical fusion. The mechanisms of action have not yet been clearly explained: electrical stimulation of the occipital nerve has both peripheral and central effects on the nervous system, which may modulate nociception. ONS is a well-tolerated and safe procedure in comparison with other invasive modalities of treatment. Lead migration/dislodgement is a common complication, but use of new surgical techniques and leads may reduce the rate of this complication.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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