Peripheral nerve stimulator for the treatment of supraorbital neuralgia: a retrospective case series


Asokumar Buvanendran, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, 1653 W. Congress Parkway, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. Tel. + 1 312 942 3685, fax + 1 312 942 8858, e-mail


Peripheral nerve blocks of the supraorbital, supratrochlear or occipital nerve have been utilized for the relief of headaches, although relief may be short-lasting. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of supraorbital nerve stimulation for treatment of intractable supraorbital neuralgia. Patients presenting to the pain clinic with refractory frontal headaches who responded to a diagnostic supraorbital nerve block were selected for this case series. Patients underwent a trial of supraorbital nerve stimulation, and efficacy was assessed after 5–7 days (n = 16). From the trial, 10 patients consented to undergo permanent implantation of the stimulator. Opioid consumption and headache scores were monitored preoperatively and at timed intervals for 30 weeks. Headache scores decreased, and opioid consumption was reduced in half, and these beneficial accomplishments were maintained up to 30 weeks after implantation. In selected patients, supraorbital nerve stimulation for the treatment of chronic frontal headaches appears to be efficacious.