Revision of Occipital Nerve Stimulator Leads: Technical Note of Two Techniques


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  • Financial disclosures: Drs. Trentman, Rebecca, and Zimmerman have received research support from St. Jude Neuromodulation; Drs. Trentman and Zimmerman have received research support from Medtronic Inc. and Advanced Bionics Inc., now Boston Scientific Neuromodulation.

  • The authors have no financial interest in the material or devices described in this article and received no financial support in generation of this manuscript.

  • Authorship Statement: All authors contributed to the concepts described herein and assisted with manuscript preparation. Each approved the final manuscript.

  • Conflict of Interest: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Terrence L. Trentman, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic in Arizona, 5777 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85054, USA. Email:


Objective:  Occipital nerve stimulation can be effective therapy for recalcitrant headache disorders. Lead migration remains the primary technical adverse event associated with this therapy. Revision surgery for occipital nerve stimulator leads sometimes requires exposure of all components including internal pulse generator, extension cables, connectors, and leads with multiple incisions. However, minimizing the invasiveness of revision surgery reduces the time, infection risk, and discomfort associated with the procedure. We describe two techniques that attempt to minimize the extent of revision surgery necessary for lead migration.

Materials and Methods:  We describe two minimally invasive revision techniques. One uses a 14-gauge Tuohy needle converted to a slotted needle. The other uses a standard Tuohy needle inserted subcutaneously into the anchor site along the desired course of the lead.

Results:  Both techniques allow replacement of a migrated occipital nerve stimulator lead while eliminating the need to access connector or battery sites with multiple incisions.

Conclusions:  When migration occurs, the techniques described can simplify lead revision while minimizing the invasiveness of the procedure.