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Sprint Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

What is SPRINT Peripheral Nerve Stimulation?

Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) is a minimally invasive treatment for chronic pain and pain caused due to peripheral nerve damage. The peripheral nerves connect your brain and spinal cord with the rest of the body. Pain arises from the signals produced by a nerve when it is stimulated by tissue damage or when the nerve itself is damaged (neuropathic pain).

SPRINT peripheral nerve stimulation is an innovative, wearable, drug-free treatment for pain management. The state-of-the-art technology involves conveying electrical impulses directly to the nerve responsible for pain. The electric impulses cause stimulation which blocks the pain signal from traveling to your brain and provides pain relief.

Indications for SPRINT Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

Your physician may recommend SPRINT peripheral nerve stimulation if medications and other therapies have failed to treat your pain symptoms, and particularly if you experience:

  • Nerve injury
  • Nerve entrapments
  • Occipital neuralgia
  • Complex regional pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Neuropathic pain

How Does SPRINT Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Work?

SPRINT peripheral nerve stimulation system consists of a tiny wire, called the MicroLead, that is implanted beside the nerve causing pain. The other end of the lead is attached to an externally worn, small pulse generator. The pulse generator sends mild electric pulses through the lead to stimulate the nerve, blocking pain signals before they reach the brain. A simple hand-held remote enables you to effortlessly control the level of stimulation required. After about 60 days of treatment, the system is removed, and the patient can experience sustained pain relief.

Preparation for SPRINT Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

Prior to the procedure, you will have a consultation with your physician. During that time, it is important to mention if you have any of the following:

  • Blood clotting
  • Bleeding problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Allergies
  • If you have had blood clots in your legs (deep venous thrombosis) or in your lungs (pulmonary emboli) 
  • If you are taking aspirin, warfarin, or any other anticoagulant medications, or even herbal supplements that could thin the blood
  • Any other health issues

Additionally, prior to the procedure, you will also be required to fill in several pain charts. These charts are crucial in planning the procedure and monitoring your response to the implants. The first chart you are required to fill in is a body map where you will need to shade in the regions of your body where you experience pain. The next chart is a pain diary where you can fill in your pain experience over a period of about a week. If the pain tends to fluctuate over a day, you are required to do a couple of scores each day. However, if the pain is constant throughout the day, a daily score is sufficient. Finally, you may be required to fill in a questionnaire. The questionnaire provides a range of words to assist you with describing your pain and you must pick the words that best describe the pain for you.

Procedure for SPRINT Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

In general, SPRINT peripheral nerve stimulation will involve the following steps:

  • You will be brought to the procedure room and asked to lie down on the procedure table in a face-down position.
  • Your skin will be thoroughly cleaned at the injection site and a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the skin tissue in the treatment area.
  • Your physician will use an x-ray technique called fluoroscopy that offers live x-ray images of the inside of the body to help guide a hollow needle, called an introducer, to the correct site.
  • The MicroLead is then passed through the introducer and placed near the nerve.
  • The other end of the lead is then secured to the external battery, called a pulse generator.
  • Your physician will then turn on the device to begin stimulating the nerve and will ask for your response to find the most optimal position for the lead.
  • Once the lead is correctly positioned, the introducer is removed, and the injection site is covered with a small bandage.
  • The pulse generator is then mounted in a small, padded bracket which is attached to your lower back through a strong but mild adhesive.
  • The entire procedure takes about 30 minutes.

Post-Procedure Care and Recovery

In general, post-procedure care and recovery after SPRINT peripheral nerve stimulation may involve the following:

  • You will be transferred to the recovery area where your nurse will closely observe you for any allergic or anesthetic reactions and monitor your vital signs as you recover.
  • You may notice pain, swelling, and discomfort in the treatment area. Pain and anti-inflammatory medications are provided as needed for comfort.
  • Most patients will be discharged home the same day or the following morning, and the pulse generator will be programmed before you leave.
  • You will be asked to follow activity restrictions for the first 6 weeks which include:
  • Not to lift anything heavier than 5 pounds
  • No strenuous activity including sex, yard work, or housework
  • Refrain from driving until the first follow-up visit
  • Abstain from alcohol as it thins the blood and increases the risk of bleeding
  • Instructions on incision site care and bathing will be provided to keep the incision area clean and dry.
  • A follow-up appointment will be scheduled in 2 weeks’ time to have your incision and SPRINT system checked. You are advised to bring your device remote and product box to your follow-up appointment. The programming of the pulse generator can be adjusted at this time if needed.

Risks and Complications

SPRINT peripheral nerve stimulation is a safe procedure; however, as with any minimally invasive surgery, some risks and complications may occur, such as the following:

  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Unrelieved pain
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness
  • Rashes or itching
  • Seroma (accumulation of clear fluid under the skin)
  • Allergic response
  • Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center
  • Colorado State University
  • Stanford School of Medicine
  • Peak Orthopedics
  • OCC
  • Interventional Orthobiologics
  • Interventional Orthobiologics FOundation
  • spine intervention society