Editor-in-Chief: Alaa Abd-Elsayed, MD, PhD
BACKGROUND: Pudendal neuralgia (PN) can cause severe, disabling chronic pain. Though common, PN is frequently unrecognized and misdiagnosed. Historically, the last-resort treatment for PN has been permanent implantation of spinal cord stimulation (SCS), but SCS for PN carries high risk of complications and explantation. We report the first case of temporary (60-day) peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) treatment for refractory PN.
CASE REPORT: A 63-year-old woman presented with one year of chronic bilateral suprapubic vaginal pain radiating to the bilateral proximal medial thighs with concomitant dysuria, urinary frequency, and pain with intercourse. PN was confirmed via diagnostic pudendal nerve block. Using fluoroscopic guidance, we implanted PNS leads on the left and, subsequently, the right pudendal nerves, with explantation at 60 days for each lead. The patient reported continuing pain reduction with 80% improvement in the Visual Analog Scale score at 6 months, resumption of normal activity and functionality, discontinued use of opioids, and high satisfaction with treatment. This case is notable for the sustained pain relief provided by this temporary and minimally invasive treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: This case suggests that 60-day PNS with fluoroscopic guidance is a viable treatment for refractory PN in correctly selected patients. This treatment is low-risk, minimally invasive, and may be used early in the care continuum, potentially sparing patients multiple failed treatments and the risks associated with permanently implanted devices.
KEY WORDS: Pudendal nerve, peripheral nerve stimulation, neuromodulation, chronic pain, pelvic pain, perineal pain, case report