Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) and Spinal Cord Stimulation
Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a cause of significant morbidity for up to 40% of patients following spine surgery, and is estimated to cost almost $20 billion, according to recent research. For these patients, there are limited options. They can undergo conventional medical management, or they can have a repeat operation. A third option is spinal cord stimulation (SCS), but this is highly underutilized, even though SCS has repeatedly been shown in studies to be more effective than conventional treatment. Furthermore, it costs less in the long run.
Research from Duke University found that from 2000 to 2012, only 4.3% of patients across the United States with FBSS were treated with SCS. Researchers wrote that…
“Long-term total annual costs for these patients were significantly reduced compared to patients with conventional management. Although implantation of an SCS system results in a short-term increase in costs at one year, the subsequent annual cumulative costs were significantly decreased long-term in the following 9 years after implantation.”
Spinal cord stimulators as a non-opioid treatment for chronic pain
In the midst of an opioid crisis that takes thousands of lives every year, alternative treatments for pain are essential. Spinal cord stimulators are becoming a popular answer for some physicians and patients. Several devices are currently competing in the market, many of which were approved by the FDA in the past few years.