I'm the one tmjpain mentioned who just had a stimulator implanted for chronic eye pain. Two days ago, after going through a one-week long trial, I had a permanent stimulation system implanted. Like Catahoula, I have an electrode on the supraorbital branch of the trigeminal nerve, however, I also have an electrode placed on the infraorbital branch of the trigeminal nerve. So, essentially I have electrodes both above and below my orbit.
Obviously, my pain is somewhat different than yours, but there probably are similarities. My pain resides deep behind my right eye.
The stimulator covers an area much larger than my eye. The upper electrode covers my entire forehead, temple, and top of my skull, as well as the upper half of my eye & eyelid. The lower electrode needs a bit of tweaking in it's programing to increase it's range, but right now it covers areas under my eye, and the lower half of my eye/eye lid. The lower electrode was placed somewhat lower during the trial & in it's previous position, it also covered much of my check & the side of my face.
My stimulator is a Medtronic Restore Ultra. The use of stimulators in the treatment of head pain is fairly uncommon in general (compared to its use in spinal cord stimulation), however, it is becoming more frequent. Make sure that your doctor is familiar with using & implanting this system for head & face pain, not just spinal cord stimulation.
Depending on where your migraines are, there maybe be several different options for you in terms of electrode placement. I am no expert, but I believe that the trigeminal nerve (as in my case) and the occipital nerve are the nerves that are used to treat chronic headaches.
A 50% reduction in pain is considered a successful trial. For me, the stimulator does not help all the time, but when it does, I do get significant (about
50%) relief. This is the most relief that I have gotten from any medication or treatment & I have essentially exhausted all other options.
The stimulator is easy to operate & easy to "try out." If you & your doctor think that this device is worth trying, then you can set up a trial period, in which you will have a temporary external stimulator to fiddle with. If you like it, then you can have it permanently implanted under the skin. Although my electrodes are in my face, they are invisible to the naked eye. As are the wires running down my neck, and the battery in my chest (and I am thin young woman).
You can find more about
my experience with the stimulator implantation & stimulator trial in some recent threads (including one entitled "update - facial stim trial," and one entitled "~Skeye"). I'd be happy to talk with you more via email, you can find my address listed in my profile.
One thing of note: I did have a very hard time getting my insurance to approve the stimulator trial & implant. It took 6 mo of appeals and an in-person hearing before I finally got authorization for the procedures.
I hope that you find some of this helpful!
Post Edited (skeye) : 7/11/2010 10:31:46 PM (GMT-6)