Experiences From the Patient Perspective on Spinal Cord Stimulation for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome: A Qualitatively Driven Mixed Method Analysis

Richard L. Witkam*, Erkan Kurt, Robert van Dongen, Inge Arnts, Monique A. H. Steegers, Kris C. P. Vissers, Dylan J. H. A. Henssen, Yvonne Engels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: When neither pharmacological therapies nor alternative interventions provide sufficient pain relief, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) can be used to treat Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS). Although it seems reasonable that quality of life (QoL)- and psychosocial-related factors contribute to the outcome of SCS since pain is a multidimensional experience, few qualitative studies have explored the expectations of SCS and experiences on SCS to treat FBSS from the patient perspective. Objectives: The aim of this study was to qualitatively and quantitatively map the FBSS patients' experiences with SCS and the effects of SCS on low back pain caused by FBSS. Materials and Methods: A qualitative study with in-depth semi-structured interviews, assisted by the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI)-questionnaire. Results: Seven themes regarding patients' experiences, subdivided into 15 categories, were identified, including an understudied theme within this field of research, Spiritual Well-Being. “Acceptance” and “coping” emerged as pre-eminent motifs throughout these themes. Moreover, the realization of patients' expectations were variable throughout the presented themes. According to the BPI Questionnaire, four out of 13 patients (31%) had significant pain relief (≥50%). Seven out of 13 (54%) reported a ≥50% increase regarding enjoyment of life. Conclusion: Multiple QoL- and psychosocial-related themes are related to SCS-outcomes. In order to improve SCS-outcomes for both short- and long-term, these themes should be implemented as a multidimensional approach, both prior to implantation as during follow-up.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-125
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

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