gms | German Medical Science

65th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

11 - 14 May 2014, Dresden

rTMS in treatment of neuropathic facial pain – a prospective study of 20 patients

Meeting Abstract

  • Susanne Frank - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Jena
  • Albrecht Waschke - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Jena
  • Rupert Reichart - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Jena
  • Rolf Kalff - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Jena

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. 65. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (DGNC). Dresden, 11.-14.05.2014. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2014. DocP 193

doi: 10.3205/14dgnc587, urn:nbn:de:0183-14dgnc5878

Published: May 13, 2014

© 2014 Frank et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: Atypical facial pain as a kind of neuropathic disorders could occur after traumatic lesions and remains difficult to treat. One option for management of intractable pain is stimulation of the motor cortex by implantation of an epidural electrode. This effect of invasive stimulation could be replaced by transcranial magnetic stimulation. The objective of the study was to observe the pain reducing effect of non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in patients suffering from facial pain, and furthermore to detect whether there is a predictable value for invasive motor cortex stimulation (MCS).

Method: The study was prospective but not randomized. We included patients suffering from chronic neuropathic facial pain. The primary motor cortex has been stimulated with high-frequent, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Stimulation was daily repeated for a period of 9 days. The individual pain level was assessed by the visual analogue scale (VAS) and documented daily for three weeks. The first follow-up was done after 6 weeks.

Results: We included 20 patients (14 female/ 6 male) between 32 and 75 years of age. The follow-up was done at least after six weeks, further intervals were determined individually with a maximum follow-up time of 2,5 years. 8 patients suffered from posttraumatic pain, 12 patients suffered from idiopathic atypical facial pain. A pain reduction in terms of a decrease in the VAS was obtained in 14 patients, ranging from 2 to 8 points of decrease with a mean value of 5,0. The pain reduction occurred with a delay between 3 and 28 days (mean 16 days), and showed a long-term effect up to 6 weeks. Two patients successfully underwent invasive motor cortex stimulation.

Conclusions: Non invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation seems to be applicable for some kind of neuropathic pain, i.e. atypical facial pain. Pain reduction has a long-term effect. Furthermore, it may be used as a positive predictor for invasive motor cortex stimulation.