Surgery for chronic pain isn't common. It's usually considered only after other treatments have failed or if it is considered medically necessary.
Surgery may provide pain relief, but it also may permanently damage your ability to perceive other sensations, such as light touch and temperature changes. It can also cause a different pain to occur.
Implanted pain control systems
Implanted pain control systems involve inserting devices under your skin or elsewhere in your body. The devices use medicine, electric current, heat, or chemicals to numb or block pain.
- Intrathecal drug delivery sends medicine to the area of your pain.
- Electrical nerve stimulation uses electric current to interrupt pain signals.
- Nerve ablation destroys or removes the nerves that are sending pain signals.
- Chemical sympathectomy uses chemicals to destroy nerves. This treatment may be used for a type of chronic pain called complex regional pain syndrome, which affects the nervous system.
Decompression is a type of surgery used for nerve pain, such as from trigeminal neuralgia. The doctor cuts open your skin and then tries to move away blood vessels or other body structures that are pressing on nerves and causing pain.