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Neuromodulation. 2011 Nov-Dec;14(6):523-8; discussion 528-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1403.2011.00384.x. Epub 2011 Aug 19.

Prospective analysis of the trial period for spinal cord stimulation treatment for chronic pain.

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Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Management, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK.



To determine patient preferences regarding the duration of trial period.


Forty patients were given a trial of spinal cord stimulation. They were questioned daily if they would like to proceed to a permanent implant. Three consecutive affirmative answers implied a successful trial; three negative replies implied a failed trial. Patients rated daily the pain from the surgery, original pain, satisfaction with the stimulator, and the duration of the use of the stimulator.


The trial duration varied from 3 to 15 days. Patients with a failed trial took longer to make a decision and also experienced prolonged surgical pain. The majority of patients with a successful trial experienced more than 50% pain reduction. The rate of infection was 7.5%, which has reduced to 2.8% after changing the dressing protocol.


In this study, all patients could make a decision in 15 days, with successful trials requiring a shorter duration. The conversion rate was similar to rates in literature despite patients making a decision without physician input.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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