Objective: To evaluate the outcome and complications of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) for chronic neuropathic pain in an Australian population.
Materials and methods: An independent researcher retrospectively examined the records of 138 patients trialing SCS between 1995 and 2002 at our institution. Information collected included pain relief, ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs), return to work and reduction in opiate analgesia. Clinical, psychological, demographic and financial data were also collected.
Results: Of 138 patients who trialed SCS, 103 (74.7%) achieved a greater than 50% reduction in their pain and proceeded to permanent implantation. At 1 year following permanent implantation, 84.4% of these still had a reduction in their pain by greater than 50%. The majority of patients, 59.1%, stated that their analgesia was good (50-74% pain reduction). All patients required opiate analgesics prior to SCS implantation, but this fell to 54.6% after SCS implantation. Additionally, 73.6% had a significant improvement in their ability to perform ADLs and 24% of patients were able to return to work.
Conclusion: SCS is an effective treatment in the control of chronic neuropathic pain, particularly in combination with comprehensive medical management within a multidisciplinary pain management centre.