Deep brain stimulation is a surgical technique used to alleviate patients from phantom limb pain. Prior to surgery, patients undergo functional brain imaging techniques such as PET scans and functional MRI to determine an appropriate trajectory of where pain is originating. Surgery is then carried out under local anesthetic, because patient feedback during the operation is needed. In the study conducted by Bittar et al., a radiofrequency electrode with four contact points was placed on the brain. Once the electrode was in place, the contact locations were altered slightly according to where the patient felt the greatest relief from pain. Once the location of maximal relief was determined, the electrode was implanted and secured to the skull. After the primary surgery, a secondary surgery under general anesthesia was conducted. A subcutaneous pulse generator was implanted into a pectoral pocket below the clavicle to stimulate the electrode (Bittar et al., 2005). It was found that all three patients studied had gained satisfactory pain relief from the deep brain stimulation. Pain had not been completely eliminated, but the intensity had been reduced by over 50% and the burning component had completely vanished (Bittar et al., 2005).
Other articles related to "stimulation":
... By 1993, it was shown that deep brain stimulation could effect the same treatment without causing a permanent lesion of the same magnitude ... Deep brain stimulation has largely replaced pallidotomy for treatment of Parkinson's patients that require neurosurgical intervention ...
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—Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908)