Dysphagia and neuropathic facial pain treated with motor cortex stimulation: Case report

William S. Anderson, Satoshi Kiyofuji, James E. Conway, Chris Busch, Richard B. North, Ira M. Garonzik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: We report on a patient with a neuropathic facial pain syndrome, including elements of trigeminal neuralgia, glossopharyngeal neuralgia, and dysphagia. After failing medical and surgical decompressive treatments, the patient underwent implantation of a motor cortex stimulation (MCS) system. CLINICAL PRESENTATION: A 54-year-old woman presented with a 14-year history of left-sided facial pain, throat pain, and associated nausea and vomiting. The patient failed several open surgical and percutaneous procedures for her facial pain syndrome. Additionally, several medication trial attempts were unsuccessful. Imaging studies were normal. INTERVENTION: The patient underwent placement of a right-sided MCS system for treatment of her neuropathic facial pain syndrome. The procedure was tolerated well, and the trial stimulator provided promising results. The permanent MCS generator needed to be reprogrammed at the time of the 5-week follow-up visit to optimize symptom relief. The patient demonstrated dramatic improvements in her neuropathic facial and oral pain, including improvements in swallowing toleration, after the 5-week follow-up examination with subthreshold MCS. A decline in treatment efficacy also occurred 2 years after implantation due to generator depletion. Symptom improvement returned with stimulation after the generator was replaced. CONCLUSION: A novel implantable MCS system was used to treat this patient's neuropathic facial pain. Durable improvements were noted not only in her facial pain, but also in swallowing toleration. The ultimate role of MCS in the treatment of pain conditions is still not well-defined but might play a part in refractory cases and, as in this case, might improve other functional issues, including dysphagia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E626
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Dysphagia
  • Glossopharyngeal neuralgia
  • Motor cortex stimulation
  • Neuropathic facial pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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