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What is a Peripheral Nerve Stimulator?

A peripheral nerve stimulator, often referred to as PNS, is an approach to treat chronic pain in the peripheral nerves, or nerves located beyond the brain and spinal cord, with the use of neuromodulation.

What Do Peripheral Nerve Stimulators Treat?

Peripheral nerve stimulators treat chronic pain in the peripheral nerves, most commonly in the limbs, hands, and feet. By sending signals to the peripheral nerves, it interrupts pain signals before they are able to reach the brain.

How Does the Procedure Work?

Comprehensive Centers for Pain Management offers the Nalu peripheral nerve stimulator.

For this minimally-invasive procedure, a 7-day trial will first be completed to verify the effectiveness of a peripheral nerve stimulator for each patient. For the trial, leads are temporarily placed near the spinal cord or targeted nerve and connected to an external stimulator. The stimulator is activated and a representative from the device company will work directly with the patient in order to keep track of their pain relief and comfort. At the end of the trial, the leads will be removed in an office setting.

Once a trial has been successful, the permanent procedure can be completed. For the procedure, the patient will lie prone, and a small incision will be made by the surgeon. Leads will be fed through the incision, to the affected nerves. An Implant Pulse Generator (IPG), a device small enough to fit on a fingertip, will be implanted under the skin. The IPG and leads are connected, and the procedure is completed. An external Therapy Disc, which rests on the outside of the body, powers and controls the IPG, allowing for it to generate stimulation. Patients are able to control and modify the signals sent by the device using their smartphone.

What are the Risks?

As with all surgery, a risk of infection is present. Due to the Nalu peripheral nerve stimulator being a minimally-invasive surgery, infection risk is much lower than open surgery. Rare complications with the device, such as leads disconnecting, or the device failing to work. Unlike other stimulators, a surgical battery replacement is not necessary, as it is stored externally.

Benefits of Peripheral Nerve Stimulators

By interrupting pain signals before they reach the brain, peripheral nerve stimulators are able to relieve prominent nerve pain. Stimulation settings can be adjusted over time, as needs of the patient change.

For more information about the Nalu peripheral stimulator, visit Nalu Medical’s website at