Elisabeth Manville
Feb 27, 2012

New spinal cord stimulation technique improves treatment of back pain

A study published in Neurosurgery shows that new approaches to spinal cord stimulation (SCS) could help the treatment’s effectiveness in relieving back pain. A research team led by Dr. Philippe Rigoard evaluated the use of an implanted device with three columns of electrodes in eleven patients who had severe pain following failed back surgery. The 16 electrodes on the three-column configuration are designed to give overlapping areas of stimulation, maximizing the effects of SCS. The team tested 43 different electrode stimulation patterns to find the most effective in relieving pain in the lower spine and leg. "The tripolar lead successfully generated paresthesia [numbness] in both bilateral back and leg territories in 9 patients (81.8 percent)," says the authors of the study. This success may lead to more applications of electrical stimulation techniques.