Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): a review of applications in dermatology.
A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit is an inexpensive, accessible therapeutic device with multiple dermatology-related uses. This review aims to describe the dermatological applications of TENS. PubMed was searched for literature related to TENS in dermatology. Articles describing this association were reviewed for evidence. TENS offered pain relief during photodynamic therapy for the treatment of actinic keratoses, with a reduction in visual analog scale (VAS) scores for patients using TENS during photodynamic therapy compared to those using no intervention. In the treatment of refractory postherpetic neuralgia pain, patients received greater pain relief when given pregabalin along with TENS therapy compared to pregabalin and no TENS therapy. TENS was the most effective therapy in reducing the incidence of PHN when compared to antiviral agents or combination therapy. The administration of TENS three times per week for four weeks improved VAS scores for pruritus associated with atopic dermatitis and lichen simplex chronicus. This benefit extended into the treatment of other conditions, resulting in improvement of pruritus measured by VAS and Dermatology Life Quality Index scores for macular amyloidosis and lichen planus. TENS is beneficial in the field of dermatology, particularly involving the relief of chronic pruritus.