On the Therapeutic Viability of Peripheral Nerve Stimulation for Ilioinguinal Neuralgia: Putative Mechanisms and Possible Utility

Journal Article

By: J; Giordano Rauchwerger, J; Rozen, D; Kent, J; Greenspan, J; Closson, C
Publication Name: Pain Pract
Year: 2008

Injury to the ilioinguinal nerve commonly follows during lower abdominal and pelvic surgery, especially with inguinal hernia repair, appendectomy, and hysterectomy. Other potential causes include low abdominal blunt trauma, iliac crest bone graft, psoas abscess, Pott's disease, and prolonged wearing of abdominally constrictive clothing. The actual incidence of ilioinguinal neuralgia is uncertain, as reported percentage ranges between 12% and 62%. Prompt and accurate diagnosis is critical, and appropritate treatments range from conservative pharmacologic management with nonopioid (eg, gabapentin, topiramate) as well as opioid agents, to surgical neurectomy of the proximal portion of the ilioinguinal nerve. Pharmacological treatment is frequently unsuccessful (particularly if delayed) and while surgery is successful in approximately 73% of cases, it can result in problematic paresthesias, and pain may continue to persist in some patients. Thus, minimally invasive techniques, such as peripheral nerve stimulation, may be viable in those patients who are refractory to pharmacological management, as an option to surgery, and who have not gained satisfactory pain relief through surgical intervention. We present three cases of successful pain control of ilioinguinal neuralgia with peripheral nerve stimulation. These cases demonstrate the potential benefits of neurostimulation including durable effective pain relief and decreased use of medication. Putative mechanisms of effect(s) and caveats for continued research to inform prudent employment of this technique are presented.

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