2023 Jul;26(5):1102-1108.doi: 10.1016/j.neurom.2023.03.009. Epub 2023 Apr 19.

Aurelie LeplusJimmy VoirinEmmanuel CunyMarie OnnoMaxime BillotPhilippe RigoardDenys Fontaine


Objectives: Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is burdened with surgical complications that may require one or several surgical revision(s), challenging its risk/benefit ratio and cost-effectiveness. Our objective was to evaluate its outcome and efficacy after one or more SCS surgical revisions.

Materials and methods: We identified and retrospectively analyzed 116 patients treated by tonic paresthesia-based SCS who experienced one or more complication(s) requiring at least one surgical revision. Data collected included initial indication, revision indication, number of revisions, and lead design (paddle or percutaneous). Outcome after SCS revision was evaluated by pain intensity decrease (comparing baseline and postrevision Numerical Rating Scale [NRS] scores) and percentage of patients reporting pain relief ≥50%. Outcome was analyzed according to the number of surgical revisions and the revision indications.

Results: Most of the patients (61%) underwent only one revision (mean delay after implantation 44 months). The most frequent causes of revisions were hardware dysfunction (32%), lead migration (23%), and infection (18%). Revision(s) repaired the SCS issue in 87% of the cases. One year after the first revision, 82% of the patients reported pain relief ≥50%, and the mean NRS decrease was 4.0 compared with baseline (p < 0.001). Benefit of SCS revision tended to decrease with the number of revisions but did not differ across revision indications. No serious surgical complications related to the revision occurred, except for three hematomas occurring after repeated revisions.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that surgical revision of SCS system is safe and led to significant pain relief in most of the cases, provided that the initial indication was good and that the previous stimulation was effective. However, success of SCS revision decreases with the number of revisions.

Keywords: Complications; hardware dysfunction; outcome; spinal cord stimulation; surgical revision.

Is Spinal Cord Stimulation Still Effective After One or More Surgical Revisions?