Implantable Subdural Cortical Stimulation for Chronic Intractable Pain Treatment—The Mayo Experience and Review of Literature

Jason Yuen, Bryan T. Klassen, Paola Sandroni, John Huston, Sanjeet S. Grewal, Robert E Wharen, Jr, Kendall H. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Motor cortex stimulation (MCS) is an effective technique in treating chronic intractable pain for some patients. However, most studies are small case series (n < 20). Heterogeneity in technique and patient selection makes it difficult to draw consistent conclusions. In this study, we present one of the largest case series of subdural MCS. Materials and Methods: Medical records of patients who underwent MCS at our institute between 2007 and 2020 were reviewed. Studies with at least 15 patients were summarized for comparison. Results: The study included 46 patients. Mean age was 56.2 ± 12.5 years (SD). Mean follow-up was 57.2 ± 41.9 months. Male-to-female ratio was 13:33. Of the 46 patients, 29 had neuropathic pain in trigeminal nerve territory/anesthesia dolorosa; nine had postsurgical/posttraumatic pain; three had phantom limb pain; two had postherpetic pain, and the rest had pain secondary to stroke, chronic regional pain syndrome, and tumor. The baseline numeric rating pain scale (NRS) was 8.2 ± 1.8 of 10, and the latest follow-up score was 3.5 ± 2.9 (mean improvement of 57.3%). Responders comprised 67% (31/46)(NRS ≥ 40% improvement). Analysis showed no correlation between percentage of improvement and age (p = 0.352) but favored male patients (75.3% vs 48.7%, p = 0.006). Seizures occurred in 47.8% of patients (22/46) at some point but were all self-limiting, with no lasting sequelae. Other complications included subdural/epidural hematoma requiring evacuation (3/46), infection (5/46), and cerebrospinal fluid leak (1/46). These complications resolved with no long-term sequelae after further interventions. Conclusion: Our study further supports the use of MCS as an effective treatment modality for several chronic intractable pain conditions and provides a benchmark to the current literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Functional neurosurgery
  • motor cortex stimulation
  • pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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