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BACKGROUND: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is a recent technique that has shown some promising short-term results in patients with chronic refractory neuropathic pain. Three years after the first case series, we assessed its efficacy on a larger cohort, with longer follow-up. METHODS: Twenty-four patients (19 males; average age, 49.1 years) with neuropathic pain underwent bilateral ACC DBS. Patient-reported outcome measures were collected before and after surgery, using the Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), Short-Form 36 quality of life (SF-36), McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), and EuroQol 5-domain quality of life (EQ-5D) questionnaire. RESULTS: Twenty-two patients after a trial week were fully internalized and 12 had a mean follow-up of 38.9 months. Six months after surgery the mean NRS score decreased from 8.0 to 4.27 (P = 0.004). There was a significant improvement in the MPQ (mean, -36%; P = 0.021) and EQ-5D score significantly decreased (mean, -21%; P = 0.036). The physical functioning domain of SF-36 was significantly improved (mean, +54.2%; P = 0.01). Furthermore, in 83% of these patients, at 6 months, NRS score was improved by 60% (P < 0.001) and MPQ decreased by 47% (P < 0.01). After 1 year, NRS score decreased by 43% (P < 0.01), EQ-5D was significantly reduced (mean, -30.8; P = 0.05) and significant improvements were also observed for different domains of the SF-36. At longer follow-ups, efficacy was sustained up to 42 months in some patients, with an NRS score as low as 3. CONCLUSIONS: Follow-up results confirm that ACC DBS alleviates chronic neuropathic pain refractory to pharmacotherapy and improves quality of life in many patients.

Original publication




Journal article


World Neurosurg

Publication Date





625 - 637


Anterior cingulate cortex, Deep brain stimulation, Neuropathic pain, Adult, Aged, Deep Brain Stimulation, Female, Gyrus Cinguli, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Multimodal Imaging, Neuralgia, Pain Measurement, Quality of Life, Tomography, X-Ray Computed, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult