The Cost-Effectiveness of Spinal Cord Stimulation for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome


Rod Taylor, Health Services Research & Scientific Director of Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Noy Scott House, 3rd Floor, Barrack Rd, Exeter EX2 5DW, UK. E-mail:


Objectives:  Health-care policymakers and payers require cost-effectiveness evidence to inform their treatment funding decisions. The aims of this study were to assess the cost-effectiveness of the addition of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) compared with conventional management alone (CMM) in patients with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and to determine the cost-effectiveness of nonrechargeable versus rechargeable SCS implanted pulse generators (IPGs).

Methods:  A decision analytic model was used to synthesize data on CRPS patient outcomes and health-care costs over a 15-year time horizon from the perspective of the UK National Health Services. Data were sourced from two SCS randomized controlled trials. Results are expressed as an incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) in 2008 GBP.

Results:  The incremental cost-effectiveness of SCS compared with CMM was £3562 per QALY, a finding that was robust across sensitivity analyses with an 87% probability that SCS is cost-effective at a willingness to pay threshold of £30,000. When the longevity of an IPG is 4 years or less, a rechargeable (and initially more expensive) IPG is more cost-effective than a nonrechargeable IPG.

Conclusions:  In selected patients with CRPS, SCS is cost-effective as an adjunct to CMM. Despite their initial increased expense, rechargeable IPGs should be considered when IPG longevity is likely to be short. These findings support policymakers to extend the use of SCS as a good value for money treatment for CRPS.