Spinal cord stimulation with implanted epidural paddle lead relieves chronic axial low back pain
David A Stidd, Sergio Rivero, Martin E Weinand
Division of Neurosurgery, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Introduction: Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) provides significant relief for lumbosacral radiculopathy refractory to both medical and surgical treatment, but historically only offers limited relief for axial low back pain (LBP). We aim to evaluate the response of chronic axial LBP treated with SCS using a surgically implanted epidural paddle lead.
Materials and methods: This is a retrospective review of a consecutive series of patients with exclusive LBP or predominant LBP associated with lower extremity (LE) pain evaluated and treated with SCS using an implanted paddle lead within the dorsal thoracic epidural space. Baseline LBP, and if present LE pain, were recorded using the visual analogue scale (VAS) at an initial evaluation. At a follow-up visit (a minimum of 12 months later), LBP and LE pain after a spinal cord stimulator implantation were again recorded using the VAS. Patients were also asked to estimate total LBP pain relief achieved.
Results: Patients with either exclusive (n=7) or predominant (n=2) axial LBP were treated with SCS by implantation of a paddle lead at an average spine level of T9. The baseline VAS score for LBP was 7.2; after a follow-up of 20 months, the score decreased to 2.3 (P=0.003). The LE pain VAS score decreased from 7.5 to 0.0 (P=0.103). Patients also reported a subjective 66.4% decrease of their LBP at follow-up. There were no surgical complications.
Conclusions: Axial LBP is refractory to many treatments, including SCS. SCS using a surgically implanted paddle electrode provides significant pain relief for chronic axial LPB, and is a safe treatment modality.
Keywords: SCS, LBP, laminotomy, paddle electrodes
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