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Original article| Volume 94, ISSUE 8, P1475-1487, August 2019

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Spinal Stimulation for the Treatment of Intractable Spine and Limb Pain

A Systematic Review of RCTs and Meta-Analysis



      To synthesize the evidence regarding the effect of spinal stimulation (SS) vs medical therapy (MT) and the effect of newer SS technologies vs conventional SS on pain reduction in patients with intractable spine or limb pain.


      A comprehensive literature search was conducted by a reference librarian. The literature search encompassed January 1, 1995 – December 31, 2017. Reviewers worked independently to select and appraise trials. Random-effect meta-analysis and frequentist indirect comparison methods were used to compare the three interventions. Results were expressed as odds ratio (OR) or weighted mean difference (WMD) with 95% CIs.


      We identified 12 trials enrolling 980 patients. Compared with MT, SS significantly increased the odds of reducing pain by 50% or more in three trials (OR, 13.01; 95% CI, 4.96-34.17) and significantly reduced pain as measured by visual analogue scale scores in three trials (WMD, 1.43 scale points; 95% CI, 0.16-2.71). Using the common comparator of MT, newer stimulation technology (eg, high-frequency 10 kilohertz spinal stimulation, Burst, dorsal root ganglion) was associated with increased odds of pain relief compared with conventional SS (OR, 2.07; 95% CI, 1.35-3.19).


      In patients with intractable spine/limb pain, SS was associated with better pain reduction than MT. New stimulation technology was likely associated with better pain reduction than conventional stimulation.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome), DRG (dorsal root ganglion), FBSS (failed back surgery syndrome), HF10 (high-frequency 10 kilohertz spinal stimulation), MT (medical therapy), NRS (numeric pain rating scale), OR (odds ratio), RCT (randomized controlled trial), SCS (spinal cord stimulation), SS (spinal stimulation), VAS (visual analogue scale), WMD (weighted mean difference)
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