Kim, S. H., R. R. Tasker, et al. (2001). "Spinal cord stimulation for nonspecific limb pain versus neuropathic pain and spontaneous versus evoked pain." Neurosurgery 48(5): 1056-64; discussion 1064-5.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the outcome of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) in patients with nonspecific limb pain versus patients with neuropathic pain syndromes and in patients with spontaneous versus evoked pain. METHODS: A retrospective review of 122 patients accepted for treatment with SCS between January 1990 and December 1998 was conducted. All patients first underwent a trial of SCS with a monopolar epidural electrode. Seventy-four patients had a successful trial and underwent permanent implantation of the monopolar electrode used for the trial (19 patients), or a quadripolar electrode (53 patients), or a Resume quadripolar electrode via laminotomy (2 patients). RESULTS: Of the 74 patients, 60.7% underwent implantation of a permanent device and were followed for an average of 3.9 years (range, 0.3-9 yr). Early failure (within 1 yr) occurred in 20.3% of patients, and late failure (after 1 yr) occurred in 33.8% of patients. Overall, 45.9% of patients were still receiving SCS at latest follow-up. Successful SCS (>50% reduction in pain for 1 yr) occurred in 83.3% of patients with nonspecific leg pain, 89.5% of patients with limb pain associated with root injury, and 73.9% of patients with nerve neuropathic pain. SCS was less effective for the control of allodynia or hyperpathia than for spontaneous pain associated with neuropathic pain syndromes. Third-party involvement did not influence outcome. There was a lesser incidence of surgical revisions when quadripolar leads were used than with monopolar electrodes. CONCLUSION: SCS is as effective for treating nonspecific limb pain as it is for treating neuropathic pain, including limb pain associated with root damage.