Neuromodulation of the Suprascapular Nerve

Erkan Kurt, Tess van Eijk, Dylan Henssen, Inge Arnts, Monique Steegers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic intractable shoulder pain (CISP) is defined as shoulder pain which is present for longer than 6 months and does not respond to standard treatments like medication, physical therapy, rehabilitation, selective nerve blocks and local infiltrations, or orthopedic procedures. The etiology of CISP may be very diverse, varying from many orthopedic conditions to non-orthopedic conditions. The fact that the suprascapular nerve is one of the most important nerves supplying the shoulder region makes this nerve an interesting target in treating patients suffering shoulder pain. Invasive treatment options are peripheral nerve blocks, temporary electrical stimulation, and neurostimulation. To our best knowledge, thus far there are only a few reports describing the technique of permanent neurostimulation of the suprascapular nerve. In this article we present a patient suffering shoulder pain after she underwent surgery for cervical stenosis. After a step by step treatment protocol was done, we finally offered her trial stimulation of the suprascapular nerve. A single quad lead was implanted via a posterior approach under fluoroscopic and ultrasound guidance. Two weeks after successful stimulation, we implanted a permanent neuromodulation system. Permanent neurostimulation of the suprascapular nerve and its end branches may be a new interesting target in treating patients suffering shoulder pain due to various etiologies. In our patient the follow-up period is 9 months with an excellent result in pain relief, we observed no complications thus far, especially no dislocation or breakage of the lead. In this report, literature on this subject is reviewed, and our technique is well documented with additional anatomical illustrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E235-9
JournalPain Physician
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • Chronic Pain/diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Block/methods
  • Pain Management/methods
  • Peripheral Nerves/physiopathology
  • Scapula/innervation
  • Shoulder Pain/diagnosis

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