Rechargeable vs. nonrechargeable spinal cord stimulator system

Spinal cord stimulation has been an option to treat persistent neuropathic pain following back surgery. However, the battery life is between two to five years. This means that the patient has to undergo the expense, discomfort, and possible complications when having the battery replaced.

A new spinal cord stimulation system with a rechargeable power source may last ten to 25 or more years. The authors of the study projected the lifetime costs of the two systems using Medicare rates in 2006. While the newer, rechargeable system is initially more costly, the authors felt that the cost was offset in four years. They felt that the lifetime cost savings with the rechargeable system was approximately 100,000 to 150,000 US Dollars. In addition to the cost savings, patients would need far fewer replacement procedures, have less discomfort as a result, and be exposed to fewer possible complications.

Hornberger, J. et al. Rechargeable spinal cord stimulation versus nonrechargeable system for patients with failed back surgery syndrome: A cost-consequences analysis. Clinical Journal of Pain. 2008. Vol. 24, Num. 3. Pp. 244-252.

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