Prospective Six-Month Analysis of Multiarea Burst Spinal Cord Stimulation: Correlating Intraoperative Neuromonitoring With Postoperative Programming and Clinical Outcomes

Neuromodulation. 2024 Mar 22:S1094-7159(24)00056-4. doi: 10.1016/j.neurom.2024.02.003. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: DeRidder burst spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has shown superior relief from overall pain to traditional tonic neurostimulation therapies and a reduction in back and leg pain. However, nearly 80% of patients have two or more noncontiguous pain areas. This affects the ability to effectively program stimulation and deliver long-term efficacy of the therapy. Multiple DeRidder burst region programming is an option to treat multisite pain by interleaving stimulation at multiple areas along the spinal cord. Previous intraoperative neuromonitoring studies have shown that DeRidder burst stimulation provides broader myotomal coverage at a lower recruitment threshold. The goal of this study is to correlate intraoperative electromyogram (EMG) threshold and postsynaptic excitability with postoperative paresthesia thresholds and optimal burst stimulation programming.

Materials and methods: Neuromonitoring was performed during permanent implant of SCS leads in ten patients diagnosed with chronic intractable back and/or leg pain. Each patient underwent the surgical placement of a Penta Paddle electrode through laminectomy at the T8-T11 spinal levels. Subdermal electrode needles were placed into lower extremity muscle groups, in addition to the rectus abdominis muscles, for EMG recording. Evoked responses were compared across multiple trials of burst stimulation in which the number of independent burst areas was varied. After intraoperative data collection, all patients were programmed with single- and multiarea DeRidder burst. Intermittent dosing was delivered at 30:90, 120:360, 120:720, and 120:1440 (seconds ON/OFF) intervals. Numerical rating scale (NRS) and Patient Global Impression of Change scores were evaluated at one, two, three, four, and six months after permanent implant.

Results: The thresholds for EMG recruitment after DeRidder burst differed across all patients owing to anatomical and physiological variations. After a 30-second dose of stimulation, the average decrease in thresholds was 1.25 mA for two-area and 0.9 mA for four-area DeRidder burst. Furthermore, a 30-second dose of multisite DeRidder burst produced a 0.25 mA reduction in the postoperative paresthesia thresholds. Across all patients, the baseline NRS score was 6.5 ± 0.5, and the NRS score after single or multiarea DeRidder burst therapy was 2.87 ± 1.50. Eight of ten patients reported a ≥50% decrease in their pain scores through the six-month follow-up visit. Pain outcomes using intermittent multiarea stimulation with longer OFF times (120:360, 120:720, 120:1440) were comparable to those using single-area DeRidder burst at 30:90 up to six months after implant with patient preference being two-area DeRidder burst.

Conclusions: This study aims to evaluate the use of intraoperative neuromonitoring to optimize stimulation programming for multisite pain and correlate it with postoperative programming and efficacy. These results suggest that multisite programming can be used to further customize DeRidder burst stimulation to each individual patient and improve outcomes and quality of life for patients receiving SCS therapy for multisite pain.

Keywords: Intraoperative neuromonitoring; multisite pain; spinal cord stimulation.