DRG Therapy basically turns off a pain signal to your brain. The relatively new option for patients experiencing chronic pain is proving to be successful. We check in with northern Nevadans - who were among the first to test it out in our area - in Health Watch.
Nearly a year ago, Dr. Denis Patterson invited us into the operating room at Northern Nevada Medical Center for one of the first DRG Stimulation surgeries in the region. The implant targets a cluster of spinal nerve cells which control everything from pain to temperature sensations. "The dorsal root ganglion is almost like a super computer,” Dr. Patterson explains. “That's where a lot of processing of pain in our arms, legs take place. By putting electricity across it, we can turn off that signal so it never gets into the spinal cord and transmitted to the brain." If you intercept the signal to the brain, there’s no pain – which consumed Samantha Hines’ life for many years. Before coming to Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists she lived with chronic pain. Samantha broke her ankle during basic training in the U.S. Army. After exhausting all other treatment options, she was desperate to be one of Dr. Patterson's first patients to get this relatively new technology. "At that point in time, I was just so over the pain that anything I could do to make it stop - it was fine with me." She felt relief right away.
Patients test out a temporary stimulation for several days before the permanent leads are placed. "That first week with the trial period, I was in heaven. I couldn't wait to get the permanent one put in." For the first time in years, Samantha is now able to enjoy the little things in life - like getting outdoors. "I wake up every day with excitement knowing I'm not going to be in pain."
Like Samantha, Lou Istrice, who lived 15-years in chronic pain, says he's 100% pain-free after the DRG therapy. In fact, he hasn't been back to see Dr. Patterson in a while. "I actually haven't seen Lou in over six months."
Dr. Patterson says this game-changing technology has a 97% success rate in his office; it’s not only helping to wean patients off of potentially addictive opioids, it's also renewing their lives, their freedom and their happiness. "How happy are you?” Dr. Patterson asks. “I'm ecstatic; I absolutely love this thing!”
The battery is not rechargeable, so patients will need to replace it every three to five years. However, Dr. Patterson expects as technology improves - so will the lifespan of these batteries. To learn more, call our Ask the Doctor phone lines on Monday, October 2nd from 5-6 p.m. at (775) 858-2222.
Dr. Patterson will also be hosting an education event on Tuesday, October 10th at the Courtyard Marriott on South Virginia Street at 6 p.m. You can also reach Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists at (775) 284-8650.