Pain is usually managed with non-surgical methods such as oral medications, injections and nerve blocks. When these options fail and severe pain turns into a chronic condition, motor cortex stimulation may be the next step for you. Motor cortex stimulation is a not a cure for pain, but it can help significantly relieve your symptoms.
Motor cortex stimulation is a type of neuromodulation, which is a surgical procedure that implants electrodes in the body to change how the nervous system works. Motor cortex stimulation involves placing the electrodes on the surface of the brain to control pain signals. It is an off-label procedure, which means it is not yet FDA-approved.
Deep brain stimulation is more complex than motor cortex stimulation because it involves implanting a device deep inside the brain rather than on the surface of the brain.
If medications and other therapies fail to treat your pain symptoms, your doctor considers surgical options. You may also be a candidate for spinal cord stimulation if you experience:
Patients are awake for part of the motor cortex stimulation surgery so we can test the electrodes and make sure they are in the right place. A local anesthetic is used. The procedure happens in two stages:
Patients considering motor cortex stimulation should have realistic expectations for results. The surgery relieves symptoms, but it is not a cure. It can also take up to six months of adjustments after surgery for some patients to achieve optimal results. In carefully selected patients, up to 50 percent experience relief from motor cortex stimulation.
Interested in motor cortex stimulation at UCLA? Get prepared for your first appointment.