This procedure works by targeting one or more of the occipital nerves (greater, lesser, and third occipital nerves). In certain headache syndromes, other nerves may be targeted. A small amount of electrical current is introduced to these nerves which tricks the brain into turning off (or significantly attenuating) the painful signals.
Prior to implantation, a trial is performed in which leads are placed under the skin and are connected to an external battery. The trial is performed under sedation, and the patient is discharged the same day. Afterward, the patient tries the therapy for 4-7 days and keeps a detailed pain diary.
A permanent device is implanted only if the patient reports significant improvements in pain and quality of life. The permanent implantation is placed under sedation or anesthesia, and the patient is discharged the same day.
The device is programmed by a clinical specialist appointed by the manufacturer.
Patients with the following conditions who have failed all standard medical therapies may benefit: Occipital neuralgia, whiplash-related headaches, other neck-related headaches, and nerve injuries from trauma or previous surgery, occasionally cluster headaches.