Health technology reviews

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Spinal cord stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) was first reviewed by the HTA program in 2010.
In 2013 and 2016, new searches of SCS medical literature were performed to determine if evidence published since 2010 was likely to change the original coverage decision. In both cases, the technology was not chosen for re-review.

Status: Decision completed

View findings and decision

Policy context

Concerns on efficacy (particularly long term), safety and cost regarding Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS). SCS involves the administration of electrical impulses in the spinal cord via an implanted device. SCS is considered a late or last alternative treatment for painful conditions such as chronic back and leg pain resulting from failed back surgeries, Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and chronic chest pain (angina). Important questions remain regarding the safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of SCS.

Primary criteria ranking

  • Safety = Medium
  • Efficacy = High
  • Cost = Medium

Assessment timeline

  • Draft report published: June 25, 2010
  • Public comment period: June 25 - July 16, 2010
  • Final report published: July 21, 2010
  • HTCC public meeting: August 20, 2010