Peripheral Nerve Stimulation in Postoperative Analgesia: A Narrative Review

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Current Pain and Headache Reports


Purpose of Review: Recent research has shown the effectiveness of peripheral nerve stimulators (PNS) in managing chronic pain conditions. Ongoing studies aim to explore its potential application in treating acute postoperative pain states. The purpose of this systematic review is to assess the role of PNS in providing relief for postoperative pain. Recent Findings: Clinical studies investigating the use of peripheral nerve stimulators (PNS) for analgesia following various surgeries, such as total knee arthroplasty, anterior cruciate ligament repair, ankle arthroplasty, rotator cuff repair, hallux valgus correction, and extremity amputation, have shown promising results. Lead placement locations include the brachial plexus, sciatic, femoral, tibial, genicular, perineal, sural, radial, median, and ulnar nerves. These studies consistently report clinically significant reductions in pain scores, and some even indicate a decrease in opioid consumption following PNS for postoperative pain. Summary: PNS involves the subcutaneous placement of electrode leads to target peripheral nerve(s) followed by delivery of an electric current via an external pulse generator. While the precise mechanism is not fully understood, the theory posits that PNS modulates electrical stimulation, hindering the signaling of nociceptive pain. PNS presents itself as an alternative to opioid therapy, holding promise to address the opioid epidemic by offering a nonpharmacologic approach for both acute and chronic pain states.

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