Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is known to be an effective long-term treatment option for chronic neuropathic pain. Subcutaneous stimulation (SubQ) is increasingly used to treat chronic back and neck pain, but long-term outcomes are unclear.
Materials and Methods
Patients with neurostimulation devices implanted during the past 16 years were evaluated. Their continuation or termination of the treatment was taken as a measure of long-term treatment success. Age, sex, underlying pain condition, stimulation modality (SCS, SubQ, or hybrid), occurrence, and reasons for treatment termination were documented. Patients were classified as long-term responders and long-term nonresponders and analyzed with their clinical data and stimulation modality. The sample consisted of 98 patients. Of these, 66 were treated with SCS, 21 with SubQ, and 11 with a hybrid system.
Approximately 61.3% of patients receiving SubQ terminated the treatment within two years because of ineffectiveness, whereas only 28.8% of patients receiving SCS terminated their stimulation. Back and neck pain were associated with treatment termination (p = 0.011). SubQ was also significantly associated with treatment termination.
SubQ seems not to provide substantial long-term pain relief for back and neck pain because most patients abandoned their stimulation therapy.
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Published online: April 08, 2022
Accepted: February 28, 2022
Received in revised form: February 12, 2022
Received: October 16, 2021
Source(s) of financial support: This study received no financial support or funding.
Conflict of Interest: The authors reported no conflict of interest.
© 2022 International Neuromodulation Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.