What Are the Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulation?

The benefits of Medtronic spinal cord stimulation can be life changing. Generally, people experience improvements in their pain symptoms and quality of life after having received Medtronic spinal cord stimulation.1-3

What Patients Say About Neurostimulation

Neurostimulation System Implanted by Mr. Park, Consultant Neurosurgeon

[On a pain scale] "Out of 10 I was 9 or 10 normally, but with the spinal cord stimulator it actually went down to about 5 straight away, which was a big impact."

Benefits of spinal cord stimulation include:

Significant and sustained reduction in chronic pain1,3
At 6 months after implantation, 48% of patients suffering from persistent leg pain after surgery (N=50) treated with Spinal Cord Stimulation in combination with Conventional Medical Management, achieved at least 50% reduction in leg pain compared to baseline versus 9% of patients (N=44) treated with only Conventional Medical Management (including amongst others: oral medication, nerve blocks, epidural corticosteroids, physical and psychological rehabilitative therapy, chiropractic care, but no surgery or Drug Delivery therapy).1

scs pain relief 6 months graph

Improved ability to function and take part in daily activities1
At 6 months after implantation, patients suffering from chronic, predominant leg pain after surgery and treated by Spinal Cord Stimulation combined with Conventional Medical Management, experienced improvement in Quality of Life (QoL). In contrast, patients treated with only Conventional Medical Management did not improve their QoL.

Less oral pain medication2
In patients suffering from chronic back and/or leg pain after surgery, less patients treated with Spinal Cord Stimulation (N=23) increased their opioid use compared with patients treated with re-operation (N=26) (13% vs. 42%).2

Relatively low level of complications1-3

When used as directed: 31% of chronic, predominant leg pain patients treated with Spinal Cord Stimulation (N=42) needed surgery to resolve one or more complications in a period of maximum 24 months. Of those patients 89% stated that “based on their experience so far, they would have agreed to the treatment”.1

Reducing the Need for Pain Medication

Professor Sam Eldabe
The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK

"My experience is that most patients come to [spinal cord stimulation] with a big motive in reducing [pain medications]."

What Are the Risks of Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Medtronic treatments have been engineered to the highest safety standards. However, as with any procedure, there are risks involved, and you should consider them carefully before making any decisions.

  • Surgical complications may occur including infection, pain at the site of surgery, and bleeding into the epidural space
  • Once the neurostimulation system is implanted under the skin, complications may occur including, jolting, lead breaking, and movement of the lead within the epidural space, which may require reprogramming or surgical replacement of the leads
  • These events may result in uncomfortable stimulation or loss of therapy but could be solved by adjusting the programming settings or a surgical intervention

There are other rare complications. Please see Important Safety Information for complete details on safety and risks. Also, please discuss the benefits and risks of this therapy with your doctor or surgeon.

What Are the Advantages Over Other Therapies?

Spinal cord stimulation could offer several advantages over other chronic pain treatments:

  • Unlike other chronic pain treatments or surgeries, you can experience spinal cord stimulation and see if it relieves your pain before committing to the long-term therapy.
  • A screening trial serves as an evaluation period. Like an epidural, a special needle will be used. Instead of injecting medication into the epidural space, temporary medical wires called leads will be placed. At times, the trial is done by removing a portion of bone to implant the lead as opposed to through a needle.
  • It does not have to be a permanent procedure. The neurostimulator can be switched off or surgically removed if you decide the therapy isn’t right for you.
  • Unlike oral medications that circulate throughout your entire body, spinal cord stimulation targets the precise area where you are feeling pain.
  • Spinal cord stimulation may give you relief when other treatments—like medications or injections—do not.1

Why Choose a Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulation System?

More than one company makes spinal cord stimulation systems. As you and your doctor choose the system that’s right for you, it is important that you research these companies and learn about their history with the therapy.

Here are some important facts to know about Medtronic as a long-standing leader in neurostimulation:

  • Neurostimulation therapy was developed by Medtronic and was first approved for clinical use in 1984.
  • Medtronic offers neurostimulation systems that are approved for MRI scans anywhere on the body.*
  • Medtronic has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people with chronic pain using spinal cord stimulation.
  • Medtronic is a worldwide leader in medical technology, the largest medical device company in the world, and the leading supplier of neurostimulation in Europe.
  • Only Medtronic offers AdaptiveStim®, which automatically adjusts stimulation when you change your position from upright (sitting or standing), lying down, or upright and active.
  • Medtronic offers the most therapeutic options available to meet your specific pain relief needs—including both a rechargeable and non-rechargeable neurostimulation system.
  • Both doctors and patients count on Medtronic for the widest education network available— you can find doctors who are familiar with Medtronic Chronic Pain Therapies in more than 120 countries worldwide.
  • Medtronic spinal cord stimulators can also be used alongside a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).

*Under specific conditions; requires SureScan® implantable neurostimulator and Vectris® SureScan leads.


  1. Kumar K, Taylor RS, Jacques L, et al. Spinal cord stimulation versus conventional medical management for neuropathic pain: a multicentre randomized controlled trial in patients with failed back surgery syndrome. Pain. 2007;132:179-188.
  2. North R. et al. Spinal cord stimulation versus repeated lumbosacral spine surgery for chronic pain: a randomized controlled trial. Neurosurgery 2005: 56: 98-107
  3. Ohnmeiss DD, Rashbaum RF, Bogdanffy GM. Prospective outcome evaluation of spinal cord stimulation in patients with intractable leg pain. Spine. 1996;21:1344-1350.
  4. Linderoth B, Meyerson BA. (1995) Dorsal column stimulation: modulation of somatosensory and autonomic function. In: McMahon SB and Wall PD. The neurobiology of pain. Seminars in the Neurosciences, Academic Press, London; 7: 263–277.