Spinal Cord Stimulators for Chronic Back Pain Approved by the FDA

On May 16, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved spinal cord stimulation (SCS) devices from the pharmaceutical company Abbott for the treatment of chronic back pain in people who have not had or are not eligible for back surgery, per a press release from Abbott. Approval was granted after a six-month study of 200 participants showed that spinal cord stimulation produced significant relief and improvements in pain, function, quality of life and mental health.

Those who participated in the trial suffered from chronic back pain for an average of nearly 13 years. Participants were ineligible for corrective back surgery because they were either medically frail or because they had numerous degenerative changes in their spine, none of which were severe enough to qualify for corrective surgery, but nevertheless caused significant symptoms.

After six months, 85 percent of those implanted with Abbott’s SCS devices achieved significant reductions in back pain, compared to only 7 percent who received conservative medical treatment. On average, people who received SCS therapy experienced about a 70 percent reduction in pain.

“Historically, people who don’t have options for corrective surgery to address their chronic back pain have typically been treated with combinations of therapies: physical therapy and chiropractic care, injections and pain medications,” said Allen Burton, MD, the vice president and chief of the medical associate division of Abbott’s neuromodulation company. “However, these options are ineffective for a significant proportion of people who previously had no other therapies available, while for others the treatment path feels complicated and uncertain. People who suffer from chronic back pain – who do not meet typical surgical criteria – have the tend to forego future treatments, eventually resigning themselves to living with debilitating chronic pain.

Spinal Cord Stimulators for Chronic Back Pain Approved by the FDA

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