Clinical Research|Articles in Press

Implantable Subdural Cortical Stimulation for Chronic Intractable Pain Treatment—The Mayo Experience and Review of Literature

Published:February 19, 2023DOI:



      Motor cortex stimulation (MCS) is an effective technique in treating chronic intractable pain for some patients. However, most studies are small case series (n < 20). Heterogeneity in technique and patient selection makes it difficult to draw consistent conclusions. In this study, we present one of the largest case series of subdural MCS.

      Materials and Methods

      Medical records of patients who underwent MCS at our institute between 2007 and 2020 were reviewed. Studies with at least 15 patients were summarized for comparison.


      The study included 46 patients. Mean age was 56.2 ± 12.5 years (SD). Mean follow-up was 57.2 ± 41.9 months. Male-to-female ratio was 13:33. Of the 46 patients, 29 had neuropathic pain in trigeminal nerve territory/anesthesia dolorosa; nine had postsurgical/posttraumatic pain; three had phantom limb pain; two had postherpetic pain, and the rest had pain secondary to stroke, chronic regional pain syndrome, and tumor.
      The baseline numeric rating pain scale (NRS) was 8.2 ± 1.8 of 10, and the latest follow-up score was 3.5 ± 2.9 (mean improvement of 57.3%). Responders comprised 67% (31/46)(NRS ≥ 40% improvement). Analysis showed no correlation between percentage of improvement and age (p = 0.352) but favored male patients (75.3% vs 48.7%, p = 0.006). Seizures occurred in 47.8% of patients (22/46) at some point but were all self-limiting, with no lasting sequelae. Other complications included subdural/epidural hematoma requiring evacuation (3/46), infection (5/46), and cerebrospinal fluid leak (1/46). These complications resolved with no long-term sequelae after further interventions.


      Our study further supports the use of MCS as an effective treatment modality for several chronic intractable pain conditions and provides a benchmark to the current literature.


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