Spinal Cord Stimulation for Parkinson's Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Pain and Motor Outcomes

Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2023;101(4):244-253. doi: 10.1159/000531089. Epub 2023 Jul 10.


Background: Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has been investigated as a potential therapeutic option for managing refractory symptoms in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD).

Objective: This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of SCS in PD.

Method: A comprehensive literature search was conducted on PubMed and Web of Science to identify SCS studies reporting Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale-III (UPDRS-III) or Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) score changes in PD cohorts with at least 3 patients and a follow-up period of at least 1 month. Treatment effect was measured as the mean change in outcome scores and analyzed using an inverse variance random-effects model. The risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and funnel plots.

Results: A total of 11 studies comprising 76 patients were included. Nine studies involving 72 patients reported an estimated decrease of 4.43 points (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.11; 6.75, p < 0.01) in UPDRS-III score, equivalent to a 14% reduction. The axial subscores in 48 patients decreased by 2.35 points (95% CI: 1.26; 3.45, p < 0.01, 20% reduction). The pooled effect size of five studies on back and leg pain VAS scores was calculated as 4.38 (95% CI: 2.67; 6.09, p < 0.001), equivalent to a 59% reduction.

Conclusions: Our analysis suggests that SCS may provide significant motor and pain benefits for patients with PD, although the results should be interpreted with caution due to several potential limitations including study heterogeneity, open-label designs, small sample sizes, and the possibility of publication bias. Further research using larger sample sizes and placebo-/sham-controlled designs is needed to confirm effectiveness.

Keywords: Gait improvement; Motor outcomes; Pain; Parkinson’s disease; Spinal cord stimulation.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Pain / etiology
  • Parkinson Disease* / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease* / therapy
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation* / methods

Grants and funding

No funding was received for this study.