A Questionnaire-Based Study on Patients' Experiences with Rechargeable Implanted Programmable Generators for Spinal Cord Stimulation to Treat Chronic Lumbar Spondylosis Pain


  • Conflict of Interest: None of the authors has financial holdings, professional affiliations, advisory positions, board memberships, patent holdings and the like that might bear a relationship to the subject matter of the contribution.

  • Funding: Fees for the authors' attendance at the International Neuromodulation Society's 10th World Congress were generously paid in part by Boston Scientific.

John H. McAuley, MD, Consultant Neurologist, Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB, UK. Email: john_m_30@hotmail.com


Objective:  The latest generation of rechargeable implantable programmable generators (IPGs) for spinal cord stimulation may greatly extend IPG lifespan compared with previous nonrechargeable devices. This study explores patients' experiences with these devices.

Materials and Methods:  Twenty-five patients attending the Department of Neurostimulation, Royal London Hospital, who were implanted with a rechargeable IPG (SC-1110; Boston Scientific, Minneapolis, MN, USA) to provide pain relief from post-surgical lumbosacral spondylosis were surveyed using a questionnaire.

Results:  Patients reported a mean (SD) benefit from stimulation of 43.7% (32.6%). On a 1 (worst) to 5 (best) scale, the median score was 5 for ease of recharging. Eight patients who had previously had nonrechargeable IPGs felt the rechargeable system was better (p= 0.0143). A particular issue with nonrechargeable batteries was that, while patients considered 5 years an acceptable interval for battery replacements and the procedure itself not too inconvenient, they felt an acceptable wait for replacement after failure to be only 1 week, much shorter than actual waiting times.

Conclusions:  Patients found the rechargeable IPG easy to recharge and those who had had previous experience with nonrechargeable devices preferred using the rechargeable device. Its benefits in terms of pain relief fell within the range expected from previous studies using nonrechargeable batteries. The main disadvantage of nonrechargeable devices as reported by the patients in this study was concern over the length of time they would have to wait without pain relief between battery replacements.