Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS), when combined with conventional medication management, is a cost-effective approach to treating pain resulting from a failed back surgery. The use of Spinal Cord Stimulation has been shown to decrease the medication costs associated with chronic opioid therapy, according to a study presented to the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research in 2013.

back pain from failed back surgeryThe study followed 80 patients for one year before and two years after receiving a Spinal Cord Stimulator, and their pain, quality of life, and medical expenses were tracked. The patients had all found conventional medication management to be insufficient to manage their pain. The average intensity of their pain (measured by the Pain Numeric Rating Scale), as well as their level of disability (measured by the Oswestry Disability Index) both decreased after receiving a Spinal Cord Stimulator. Patients also indicated that their quality of life had significantly improved after undergoing the procedure.

It was also reported that the majority of the benefit of Spinal Cord Stimulation was achieved within six months of implantation, after which the patient’s pain, quality of life, and level of disability either remained steady or gradually improved.

The study concluded that, “In clinical practice, SCS plus conventional treatment to manage patients refractory to conventional treatment alone, provides good value for the money.” Long-term conventional medication management does not address the root cause of the pain, while Spinal Cord Stimulation has been proven to lower the amount of medication necessary to adequately treat pain while providing higher quality of life, decreased pain, and decreased levels of disability.