Importance of Laterality in Cervical Spinal Cord Stimulation for Facial Pain: Case Report and Anatomic Review

Michael R. Jones, Joshua M. Rosenow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND IMPORTANCE: Chronic neuropathic facial pain is a debilitating disease that can be approached with multiple different treatment modalities. Cervical spinal cord stimulation has been demonstrated to be effective for patients suffering from neuropathic facial pain. Consensus does not exist in the literature regarding technique for placement. CLINICAL PRESENTATION: A 49-yr-old female presented with chronic intractable neuropathic facial pain. She underwent a successful percutaneous spinal cord stimulation trial, followed by placement of a paddle electrode for permanent implantation. The paddle electrode failed to duplicate the pain relief of her trial. Measurement of the width of the paddle demonstrated that it was 2 mm smaller than the separation of the percutaneous trial electrodes. Electrodes with wider interelectrode distance were then placed with satisfactory pain relief. CONCLUSION: Although conventional spinal cord stimulation targets the dorsal columns, cervical spinal cord stimulation for facial pain targets the spinal trigeminal nucleus. The effectiveness of stimulation may be increased with a more laterally positioned electrode in order to recruit the more laterally positioned spinal trigeminal nucleus. This case report illustrates the importance of this anatomic consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E83-E86
JournalOperative neurosurgery (Hagerstown, Md.)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Facial pain
  • Spinal cord stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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