I don't know about
pain pumps, but you might be a candidate for a peripheral nerve stimulator (PNS). Within the last 10 years or so they started using them for headaches (usually occipital migraines) and facial pain (such as trigeminal neuralgia). A PNS is the same device as an spinal cord stimulator, but instead of hooking the electrodes to spinal nerves as in the SCS they are hooked to cranial or other peripheral nerves. The generator is usually placed in your chest, under your collar bone, or in your belly.
I'm actually in the process of setting up a trial of a PNS for my eye pain. My surgeon is taking somewhat of a risk with me because he's only ever found one other person who underwent something similar (he talked to neurosurgeons from around the country & did extensive research). But he thinks that there is a good chance it may help me, as does my neurologist (who was the one that sent me to the neurosurgeon to be evaluated for a PNS in the first place) and my ophthalmologist is highly intrigued & also thinks that it might be helpful. I'm hoping to have the trial (and if successful, permanent implantation) of the system sometime after Christmas and before I return to college at the end of January. I just need to get approval from my insurance company, which unfortunately might be tough since this is a somewhat "experimental" procedure. The OR coordinator has been working on it for a week plus, so I'm going to give her a call tomorrow & find out what's happening. It was a big decision for me to make & I still certainly have concerns, but this is the best (and essentially only) chance I have to finally find some relief. Like you even massive doses of opiates do not reduce my pain & I've been through pretty much every other medication that can be used for pain. At this time my only options left are 1) the PNS, and 2) do something drastic like kill or remove the eye & there is no guarantee that that would even help because we are lacking so much information about
the cause of my pain & other ophthalmic symptoms, so I'm not even considering this option an option at this point.
Feel free to email me about
this if you like. I can let you know more of the details as I learn them. I know the basics now, but don't know much of the fine details. If you are interested, I'd also suggest that you look for a neurosurgeon who is highly experienced/ specialized in treating conditions of the head & who has done this sort of procedure before. My neurosurgeon happens to be one of the world leaders in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia & trigeminal neuropathy, as well as gamma knife surgery (which may be something else you want to look into). I didn't know that until my father, who came with me to my appointment, told me when I left (he's a doctor as well). I only went to see him because that's who my neurologist wanted me to see, but I'm very glad I did so. He was very knowledgeable & compassionate and after only seeing him once I already trust him completely.
Also, if you want more information, I have several journal articles from my research on PNS for facial pain which you may find helpful. Most of what they talk about
is PNS for trigeminal neuralgia and migraines/headaches. I could send these to you via email.
Post Edited (skeye) : 12/13/2009 8:56:20 PM (GMT-7)