Stimulation of the Deep Brain for the Treatment of Chronic Pain
Deep brain stimulation is a therapy that has been used for more than half a century to treat chronic pain. The first use of these treatments occurred in the 1950s when neurosurgeons stimulated the septal region nuclei in patients with psychiatric diseases who also suffered from chronic pain. Over the next twenty years, the therapy evolved to include the sensory thalamic nuclei to treat pain of neuropathic origin. Other targets have included the periaqueductal gray and periventricular gray, and several new targets are under current investigation. Outcomes for both facial and extremity pain have been positive and the use of this modality in the neuromodulation algorithm is increasingly helpful to those who have severe pain.