The failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is the most common chronic pain syndrome. Whereas it is relatively easy to achieve pain relief in the lower limbs of FBSS patients with spinal cord stimulation (SCS), it is difficult to manage low back pain with SCS. The performance of a paddle-shaped SCS lead that can be inserted surgically as well as percutaneously (a hybrid lead) was evaluated in a prospective study on the relief of low back pain and leg pain in patients with FBSS.Materials and Methods:
Patients with FBSS being eligible for SCS were enrolled in the study, and a hybrid lead was placed surgically. Outcome measures included pain scores for low back and leg pain assessed by visual analog scale (VAS), pain medication, and patient satisfaction. These scores were assessed before and at regular intervals after implantation.Results:
It was shown that a single hybrid lead, generally positioned over the physiological midline of the spinal cord, is capable of alleviating both low back and leg pain in patients with FBSS. Forty-five subjects were eligible for SCS and received trial stimulation. Forty-two of them had a successful trial period and were converted to a permanent system. Their average VAS score at baseline was 8.0 for lower limb pain and 7.5 for low back pain. After six months of SCS, these average VAS scores were reduced to 3.2 and 3.5, respectively, and also pain medication was reduced significantly.Conclusion:
SCS with a hybrid lead in subjects with FBSS is safe, and causes significant pain relief in both the low back and the lower limbs.