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DBS for chronic pain at Emory University Hospital

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    DBS for chronic pain at Emory University Hospital

    Hi all,

    I'm a C3/C4 quadriplegic with intense neuropathic pain. Like most people on this site. My pain is all over my entire body and particularly worse on my left side. I'm thinking about going to Emory University Hospital to consult with them about DBS. Can anyone who has actually had the surgery comment on this post as to what it's like? Any experience with Emory University? Also, I did a little bit of research and it seems that if there is widespread pain with no particular point, it's hard for a doctor to place electrode on the particular place that is causing pain. Thanks for your advice.


    Hello Corey,

    Emory University is made up of several hospitals. They have the best of the best and newest equipment available. The also work closely with the Shepherd Center. Even 89 year old ex-president Jimmy Carter goes to Emory in Atlanta for anything.

    Good luck and I hope everything works out.
    ''Life's tough... it's even tougher if you're stupid!'' -- John Wayne


      Hello Corey

      By DBS do you mean deep brain stimulation? The location of pain is in the post central gyrus or S1. The significance of pain is in parietal S2 elsewhere and the painfulness of pain is in the insula. Deep brain stimulation is usually in the thalamus but of late some researchers think central pain is in the subthalamus, posterior part. So you see it is not so simple.

      Brain operations are in the big league and it pays to get a second opinion. The anatomical complexity makes one troubled about deep brain stimulation, ie can they really locate the problem. Emory is a fine hospital, but you might consider asking them if they have published any results on deep brain stimulation and see what results they had, including the period of followup, which is important for long term evaluation of the treatment.

      In this era when pain processing is being identified in multiple locations, now with even a suggestion it may occur in the globus pallidus, it makes you wonder how an electrode(s) can be placed.

      Publication is not always necessary or the last word but at least it means some editor is willing to credit it. Deep brain stimulation has been around for a long time and has been in and out of favor, so check it out thoroughly before doing anything is what I would think. What is the criteria for "benefit" and is that sufficient for your needs. Just an opinion here, not medical advice.

      I get nervous when someone abbreviates deep brain stimulation since it should not be trivialized in any way. Go to PubMed for abstracts on the topic. Can type in deep brain stimulation and neuropathic pain.

      You might also google PubMed and enter deep brain stimulation and central pain (or neuropathic pain) and see if there is anything helpful there. PubMed contains abstracts of the world's medical literature.
      Last edited by dejerine; 18 Apr 2014, 4:10 AM.