Complications of Spinal Cord Stimulation

  • Timothy R. Deer


Spinal cord stimulation is a therapy that offers hope to thousands of patients who suffer from chronic pain. The therapy has undergone significant advancement in recent years including improved leads, more complex programmable generators, and different arrays for achieving nerve activation. Unfortunately, despite the amazing promise of these devices, the need to enter the spinal canal, make an incision, and perform invasive maneuvers leads to a risk of complications and potential patient injury. The incidence of complications with spinal cord stimulation varies based on the author reviewed. Systemic analyses have shown device complications in 17% of patients in chronic therapy. The risk of life-threatening complications appears to be less than 1%. Epidural fibrosis occurs in 19% of patients, but is not always seen as a complication since many patients are asymptomatic, and in some patients this development even stabilizes the lead and improves the outcome. The purpose of this chapter is to give an overview of important complications and to evaluate strategies to reduce the risk to the patient.


Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Spinal Cord Stimulation Epidural Hematoma Epidural Abscess Epidural Fibrosis 
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Selected Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Pain ReliefCharlestonUSA

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