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Keywords:

  • complex regional pain syndrome;
  • high frequency electrical stimulation;
  • neuromodulation;
  • reflex sympathetic dystrophy;
  • spinal cord stimulation.

Objective. To evaluate effectiveness of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) applied to complex regional pain syndrome I (CRPS I). To analyze trends to focus the design of a multicenter prospective study.

Design. Retrospective multicenter series, 3 years.

Outcome measures. We collected visual analog scales for pain and patient satisfaction data on n= 101 patients. Patients were divided into two groups: Group I had single-lead quadrapolar systems, Group II had dual-lead octapolar systems.

Results. Mean pain scores decreased in both groups with a significantly greater decrease in Group II (p < 0.0001). 74.6% of Group II patients preferred multiple programming arrays with 15.5% requiring frequencies > 250Hz.; overall satisfaction scores were 70% in Group I and 91% in Group II (p < 0.05).

Conclusions. SCS is an effective treatment of pain in CRPS I. Frequencies > 250Hz were necessary in some patients to maintain or re-establish pain control. Bilateral multielectrode leads appear superior with application of multiple arrays, permitting paresthesia steering without need for surgical revision. A multicenter, prospective design is needed applying dual-lead multichannel systems with high frequency capabilities in the treatment of CRPS I.