Long-term outcome of spinal cord stimulation and hardware complications

Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2003;81(1-4):50-6. doi: 10.1159/000075104.


Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a treatment modality for medically intractable chronic pain. This study reports an 11-year experience with SCS assessing long-term pain relief and specifically evaluating complications and revisions. It took the form of a retrospective review of medical/surgical records with a postal questionnaire. The subjects were 102 patients with medically intractable chronic pain who underwent SCS implantation between 1989 and 2000. There were 64 revision operations carried out on 35 patients. These comprised electrode replacement/repositioning (29), generator replacement (23), cable failure (3) and implant removal (5). Five (4.9%) implants became infected and 2 required removal. Clinician-reported pain relief was substantial in 69 (68%) patients. This study adds to the weight of evidence that patients undergoing SCS derive significant benefits in terms of pain relief. However, revision rates remain high due to technical and biological factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / surgery*
  • Pain Management*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Reoperation
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*
  • Spinal Cord / surgery*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome