FAQs on Spinal Cord Stimulation for Failed Neck Surgery

25 Sep FAQs on Spinal Cord Stimulation for Failed Neck Surgery

Spinal cord stimulation is the most effective way to treat intractable pain following failed neck surgery syndrome. Studies found SCS therapy far more superior than any conservative, medical, or interventional treatments in providing pain relief and improving disability in patients not getting desirable or significant results from neck surgeries.

What is failed neck surgery syndrome?

Failed neck surgery syndrome refers to undesirable result or negligible pain relief after traditional neck surgery. Patients continue to experience persistent pain without any significant change and there may be added symptoms. It can be seriously debilitating.

How common is failed neck surgery syndrome?

Research shows that 450 patients out of 100,000 need surgical intervention to manage their neck pain. Depending on the patient-specific condition, cause of neck pain, and surgical procedure adopted, 5% to 40% neck surgeries fail to provide the desired outcome.

What are symptoms of failed neck surgery syndrome?

• Persistent neck pain despite surgery
• Neuropathic pain
• Pain radiating to arms
What causes failed neck surgery syndrome?
• Failure to diagnose the cause of pain correctly
• Existence of multiple pain sources
• Surgery did not correct the actual cause of neck pain
• Incorrect surgery (both location and procedure)
• Failure of fusion/ bone graft
• Failure to decompress pinched nerves
• Secondary symptoms
• Post-surgery rehabilitation difficulties
• Subsequent damage to vertebral segments
• Scar tissue formation
• Surgical complications
How effective is spinal cord stimulation for failed neck surgery syndrome?
Spinal cord stimulation is a big relief for patients unable to get benefits from a second surgery. Research reports indicate about 77% success of spinal cord stimulator implant in providing neuropathic pain relief and more than 84% efficacy in stopping use of painkiller drugs.

A 2010 Korean study found SCS therapy highly effective in managing facial, neck, and upper extremity pain symptoms. The pain relief was 38% more compared to conventional and medical therapies, the study claimed. Another study reported by Pain Physician journal in 2007 found significant reduction in neck and upper extremity pain ranging from 70% to 90%.

A 2013 research attested over 70% efficacy of spinal cord stimulation for pain management related to cervical spine problems. It found the procedure cost effective, able to generate greater patient satisfaction, and capable to ensure quality of life of patients.
How does spinal cord stimulation relieve failed neck surgery syndrome?

Spinal cord stimulator is implanted in a patient to provide continuous neuromodulation. Electrical impulses generated by the device in the epidural space close to the spine interrupt pain sensation transmission. It blacks out pain perception by brain receptors ensuring pain relief for patients with failed neck surgery syndrome.

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