Spinal Cord Stimulator has been use by doctors for over thirty years now to aid in relieving chronic nerve pain. Also called as neurostimulator, this stimulator is set into the body whose function is to send out impulses that will stop the pain signals thus preventing them from reaching the brain.
This treatment does not remove the pain but the electrical stimulator from the device supersedes the pain messages so that the patient won’t feel the pain that severely. Hence, what the stimulator do is masks the pain. Spinal cord stimulator is only use when all of the other option in managing pain fails. Also this is usually done in trial basis first before it is permanently implanted.
This treatment has been a success and is showed through the increases use of the stimulator for chronic pain patients in Canada and United States. But before going any further it is important to discuss too the financial side of this treatment tool. What is the total cost if an individual undergo such kind of treatment? Private insurances like the Blue Cross or Blue Shield as well as Medicare have asked professional healthcare to show that the benefit is really worth the cause.
Well that is just a reasonable action since the basic cost of the unit and implantation can range from $21,595 to $57,800. The amount already includes the preoperative assessment as well as the trial before implanting the device permanently. But the good thing is, this study illustrates the additional cost for maintenance and upkeep and even for complications if any.
The cost of maintenance that is considering uncomplicated yearly care can begin at $3,500 in Canada and if under Medicare can cost to $5,000 and can go up to $7,277 for Blue Cross or Blue Shield patients (Journal of Neurosurgery 2009).
The maintenance cost every year covers the x-rays or other advanced imaging studies, professional fees, hardware, pulse generator replacement and any other hospitalization cost that is linked to any complication cause by the implantation of the stimulator. Exceptions for maintenance cost are the drug therapy. Obviously different complications cover different cost too. Maintaining the device like replacing batteries is of course much lesser than getting hospitalize because of implant failure or infection.
The figure given above is all shouldered by the insurance company. The patient does not have any counterpart of it at all however other expenses like the lodging, meals and travel expenses is all shouldered by the patient. Not all hospitals offers Spinal cord stimulation thus patients have no other option but to travel far just to benefit from this specialized pain management control.
You can of course do things to lower the cost like the use of rechargeable systems that can last for more than several years. There are companies who manufacture this that promises battery life of ten to twenty-five years. Another thing is that different manufactures do have different selling price and of course the last is to be able to identify those models that are of high quality and last for a long time.
Calculating the maintenance of the system it come out to be 18% of the implantation cost thus when calculating for the whole implantation cost plus maintenance you have to add 18% of implantation cost plus the implantation cost itself. This figure should be considered when planning for your budget if you want to undergo spinal cord stimulation.