Comparison of Characteristics, Inpatient Outcomes, and Trends in Percutaneous vs Open Placement of Spinal Cord Stimulators

Published:October 03, 2022DOI:



      Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is an effective treatment modality for chronic pain conditions for which other treatment modalities have failed to provide relief. Ample prospective studies exist supporting its indications for use and overall efficacy. However, less is known about how SCS is used at the population level. Our objective is to understand the demographics, clinical characteristics, and utilization patterns of open and percutaneous SCS procedures.

      Materials and Methods

      The Nationwide Inpatient Sample data base of 2016–2019 was queried for cases of percutaneous or open placement (through laminotomy/laminectomy) of SCS (excluding SCS trials) using International Classification of Disease (ICD), 10th revision, procedure coding system. Baseline demographic characteristics, complications, ICD-Clinical Modification, Diagnosis Related Group, length of stay (LOS), and yearly implementation data were collected. Complications and outcomes were evaluated in total and between the open and percutaneous SCS groups.


      A total of 2455 inpatients had an SCS placed, of whom 1970 (80.2%) received SCS through open placement. Placement of open SCS was associated with Caucasian race (odds ratio [OR] = 1.671, p < 0.001), private insurance (OR = 1.332, p = 0.02), and age more than 65 years (OR = 1.25, p = 0.034). The most common diagnosis was failed back surgery syndrome (23.8%). Patients with percutaneous SCS were more likely to have a hospital stay of < 1 day (OR = 2.318; 95% CI, 1.586–3.387; p < 0.001). Implant complications during the inpatient stay were positively associated with open SCS placement and reported in 9.4% of these cases (OR = 3.247, p < 0.001).


      Patients who underwent open SCS placement were more likely to be older, Caucasian, and privately insured. Open SCS placement showed greater LOS and implant-related complications during their hospital stay. These findings highlight both potential socioeconomic disparities in health care access for chronic pain relief and the importance of increasing age and medical comorbidities as important factors that can influence SCS implants in the inpatient setting.


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