Top 4 Questions Answered: Spinal Cord Stimulator Replacement
If you’ve tried a traditional spinal cord stimulator or are currently implanted with a spinal cord stimulator and aren’t happy with the pain relief you’re getting, it might be time to re-evaluate your treatment options and get a spinal cord stimulator replacement.
Older devices only offered a single type of therapy, but advanced devices like HFXTM spinal cord stimulation offer multiple programs and waveforms to individualize your relief and treat the complex nature of your pain.
HFX offers the widest range of frequencies and waveforms available, uniquely offering you 10,000 Hz high-frequency and low-frequency programs. With HFX, you don’t have to choose between low and high-frequency programs. You get both to deliver the lasting relief you need.
There is a lot to consider when thinking about replacing your spinal cord stimulator. To help with your decision-making process, we’ve gathered answers to the most frequently asked questions asked about replacing spinal cord stimulators:
1. When should I consider replacing my spinal cord stimulator?
You should consider talking with your pain management provider about replacing your spinal cord stimulator if:
- Your current spinal cord stimulator doesn’t provide enough relief to your pain areas
- You don’t like the constant tingling sensation created by your stimulator
- You find yourself constantly making changes to your programs with your remote control
- You tried a traditional spinal cord stimulator in the past and didn’t experience pain relief
- Your non-rechargeable stimulator is approaching the end of its battery life or not working as expected
2. Does my insurance cover battery replacements?
Replacing your spinal cord stimulator is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare, though it’s important to always check the specifics with your provider and insurance carrier.
Scenarios, where insurance plans cover replacements, include when your battery is approaching the end of its life, your stimulator needs a battery change, or your stimulator is malfunctioning, can’t be repaired, and is no longer under warranty.
When thinking about your insurance and battery replacements, it might be helpful to note the HFX battery is designed to have at least a 10-year life without programming restrictions. Many other systems, especially non-rechargeable SCS devices, require you to use a narrow set of low-frequency therapy programs to achieve a 10-year battery life. This limits your therapy options and pain relief.
If your device isn’t always running on a low program therapy, your non-rechargeable battery will likely have a battery life closer to 2-5 years which means you may need to undergo additional surgeries and insurance requests for battery replacements.
3. What is the process to replace my spinal cord stimulator?
Replacing your current spinal cord stimulator with HFX is a relatively simple and safe procedure. The typical steps to replacing your stimulator include:
1. Speaking with a provider experienced with HFX
Schedule time to talk to your pain management provider about replacing your stimulator. Your provider will evaluate your specific condition and you’ll have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the procedure or HFX.
2. You may or may not try HFX in a temporary trial
Trying HFX before replacing could be an option, however, may not be required for your situation. You and your provider will decide which option is best for you.
3. Receiving your new HFX battery
The replacement procedure is usually shorter than your original implant procedure. During the procedure, your doctor will remove your current battery but usually leaves the leads in place and connects them to the new HFX battery.
Typically, the replacement procedure is an outpatient procedure, which means you will likely go home the same day. Unlike your original implant procedure, there’s no need to be awake to map the tingling to your pain areas.
If you’d like to learn more about the replacement process, Dr. Paul Lynch, an interventional pain management specialist and anesthesiologist, walks through the specific steps in this on-demand webinar:
4. Why should I replace my spinal cord stimulator with HFX?
HFX is proven to provide significantly better and longer-lasting pain relief from chronic back and leg pain than other spinal cord stimulation systems1. HFX is the most advanced spinal cord stimulator available offering the widest range of frequencies and waveforms to individualize your relief.
In the first and largest study of a spinal cord stimulation system ever, HFX demonstrated superior long-term pain relief compared to traditional spinal cord stimulation. Hear physicians share what results they’re seeing in their practice with HFX here.
In fact, 77% of people who tried a traditional spinal cord stimulator rate HFX as a better option for chronic pain relief2,3.
To read about first-hand stories from people who tried a traditional spinal cord stimulator and then found relief with HFX, click here.
If you are considering replacing your current stimulator and would like to learn more, the first step is to talk with your pain management provider or find a pain management physician who offers HFX for a consultation.
- Replacing your current spinal cord stimulator with HFX is a relatively simple, quick, and safe procedure
- Nearly all insurance plans that cover spinal cord stimulation initially, including Medicare, also cover a spinal cord stimulator replacement if your battery is approaching the end of its life or is not working as expected
- When you talk to your pain management provider about when and why you may need a spinal cord stimulator replacement, ask if HFX may be right for you
- Kapural L., et al. Novel 10-kHz High-frequency Therapy Is Superior to Traditional Low-frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation for the Treatment of Chronic Back and Leg Pain. Anesthesiology, 123(4)
- Published May 8, 2015. Nevro patient satisfaction survey data. Data on file. Calculated 10/1/2020.
- Tiede et al. Pain Practice, 2006; 6(3): 197-202
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