Infectious Complications of Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation: A Systematic Review and Pooled Analysis of Incidence

Published:June 13, 2022DOI:


      Background and Objectives

      Dorsal root ganglion stimulation (DRGS) is a newer form of neuromodulation that targets the dorsal root ganglion. DRGS has superior efficacy in complex regional pain syndrome compared to spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and may have efficacy in other forms of chronic pain. While decades of safety data are available for SCS, there is less available safety information for DRGS. The objectives of this systematic review and pooled analysis of incidence are to determine the overall incidence of DRGS infections, incidence at each stage (trial vs implant vs revision), infection characteristics, and outcomes.

      Materials and Methods

      A comprehensive search of databases from January 1980 to January 2021 was conducted.


      Ten studies met inclusion criteria. Eight studies reported patients with trial data (n = 291), ten studies reported patients with implant data (n = 250), and seven studies reported data with revisions (n = 26). The pooled incidence of trial infections was 1.03% (95% CI 0.35–2.99%), implant infections was 4.80% (95% CI 2.77–8.20%), revision infections was 3.85% (95% CI 0.20–21.59%), and overall infections was 2.82% (95% CI 1.62–4.54%). There was a statistically significant difference in infection rates between the trial, implant, and revision stages, X2 (2, N = 567) = 8.9839, p = 0.01.


      This is the first systematic review and pooled analysis that followed PRISMA guidelines to report infectious complications of DRGS by stage (trial vs implant vs revision). DRGS trial appears to be low risk for infection but that risk is significantly increased with DRGS implant. Our findings highlight the need for further study of infectious complications, their risks, and optimal prophylaxis.


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