Cost-effectiveness analysis of spinal cord stimulation in treatment of failed back surgery syndrome

J Pain Symptom Manage. 1997 May;13(5):286-95. doi: 10.1016/s0885-3924(96)00323-5.


This article presents an analysis of the medical costs of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) therapy in the treatment of patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). We compared the medical costs of SCS therapy with an alternative regimen of surgeries and other interventions. Externally powered (external) and fully internalized (internal) SCS systems were considered separately. Clinical management models of each of the therapy alternatives were derived from the clinical literature, retrospective data sets, expert opinion, and published diagnostic and therapy protocols. No value was placed on pain relief or improvements in the quality of life that successful SCS therapy can generate. We found that by reducing the demand for medical care by FBSS patients, SCS therapy can lower medical costs. On average, given current screening and efficacy rates, SCS therapy pays for itself within 5.5 years. For those patients for whom SCS therapy is clinically efficacious, the therapy pays for itself within 2.1 years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Back Pain / surgery*
  • Back Pain / therapy*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / economics*
  • Humans
  • Retreatment
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology*
  • Syndrome
  • Treatment Failure