Comparison of fda-approved electrical neuromodulation techniques for focal neuropathic pain: A narrative review of drg, hf10, and burst neuromodulation

Edward Podgorski, Pedro Mascaro, Dennis Patin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Evidence suggests that dorsal root ganglion stimulation (DRGS) is a more effective treatment for focal neuropathic pain (FNP) compared with tonic, paresthesia-based dorsal column spinal cord stimulation (SCS). However, new advancements in waveforms for dorsal column SCS have not been thoroughly studied or compared with DRGS for the treatment of FNP. Objectives: The purpose of this review was to examine the evidence for these novel technologies; to highlight the lack of high-quality evidence for the use of neuromodulation to treat FNP syndromes other than complex regional pain syndrome I or II of the lower extremity; to emphasize the absence of comparison studies between DRGS, burst SCS, and high-frequency SCS; and to underscore that consideration of all neuromodulation systems is more patient-centric than a one-size-fits-all approach. Study Design: This is a review article summarizing case reports, case series, retrospective studies, prospective studies, and review articles. Setting: The University of Miami, Florida. Methods: A literature search was conducted from February to March 2020 using the PubMed and EMBASE databases and keywords related to DRGS, burst SCS, HF10 (high-frequency of 10 kHz), and FNP syndromes. All English-based literature from 2010 reporting clinical data in human patients were included. Results: Data for the treatment of FNP using burst SCS and HF10 SCS are limited (n = 11 for burst SCS and n = 11 for HF10 SCS). The majority of these studies were small, single-center, nonrandomized, noncontrolled, retrospective case series and case reports with short follow-up duration. To date, there are only 2 randomized controlled trials for burst and HF10 for the treatment of FNP. Limitations: No studies were available comparing DRGS to HF10 or burst for the treatment of FNP. Data for the treatment of FNP using HF10 and burst stimulation were limited to a small sample size reported in mostly case reports and case series. Conclusions: FNP is a complex disease, and familiarity with all available systems allows the greatest chance of success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E407-E423
JournalPain Physician
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Burst
  • Dorsal root ganglion
  • Focal neuropathic pain
  • High frequency
  • Neuromodulation
  • Spinal cord stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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