Spinal cord stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) was first reviewed by the HTA program in 2010.

  • Searches of SCS medical literature were conducted in 2014, 2016, and 2018 to determine if newly available published evidence could change the original coverage determination. The technology has not been selected for rereview.
  • In 2022, the HCA director selected SCS for rereview based on published evidence that could change the original coverage determination.

Status: Review in progress

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
Documents (all assessments)

Update literature (2018)

Update literature (2016)

Update literature (2014)

Assessment (2010)

Assessment timeline (2010)

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