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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Mar 2023 - 31 Mar 2023


Human Studies, Medical Devices, Neurobiology, Neuromodulation

Orofacial/Head Pain

2023 Mar 14

Brain Sci




Deep Brain Stimulation for Chronic Facial Pain: An Individual Participant Data (IPD) Meta-Analysis.


Qassim H, Zhao Y, Ströbel A, Regensburger M, Buchfelder M, de Oliveira DS, Del Vecchio A, Kinfe T


Despite available, advanced pharmacological and behavioral therapies, refractory chronic facial pain of different origins still poses a therapeutic challenge. In circumstances where there is insufficient responsiveness to pharmacological/behavioral therapies, deep brain stimulation should be considered as a potential effective treatment option. We performed an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis including searches on PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library (2000-2022). The primary endpoint was the change in pain intensity (visual analogue scale; VAS) at a defined time-point of ≤3 months post-DBS. In addition, correlation and regression analyses were performed to identify predictive markers (age, duration of pain, frequency, amplitude, intensity, contact configuration, and the DBS target). A total of seven trials consisting of 54 screened patients met the inclusion criteria. DBS significantly reduced the pain levels after 3 months without being related to a specific DBS target, age, contact configuration, stimulation intensity, frequency, amplitude, or chronic pain duration. Adverse events were an infection or lead fracture (19%), stimulation-induced side effects (7%), and three deaths (unrelated to DBS-from cancer progression or a second stroke). Although comparable long-term data are lacking, the current published data indicate that DBS (thalamic and PVG/PAG) effectively suppresses facial pain in the short-term. However, the low-quality evidence, reporting bias, and placebo effects must be considered in future randomized-controlled DBS trials for facial pain.