Spinal cord stimulation is a safe method for treating chronic pain syndromes. Spinal cord stimulators can be placed either surgically by creating a laminectomy defect for paddle leads or percutaneously by inserting electrodes. They are usually not associated with major complications. There have been several reports of epidural fibrosis formation after paddle lead placement but only 1 case of excessive fibrosis following percutaneous lead placement. We describe the unique case of excessive cervical fibrosis formation with creation of tolerance phenomenon, clinically significant stenosis, cord compression, and myelopathy after percutaneous lead placement, which improved after surgical removal of the implant. We also reviewed the PubMed and Medline databases for all cases of significant epidural fibrosis related to spinal cord stimulator lead placement, including both surgically implanted paddles and percutaneously implanted leads. This is an uncommon complication after placement of spinal cord stimulators, but it can carry a clinically significant impact and be the source of severe morbidity. It should especially be suspected if the successful placement of the device is followed by development of a "tolerance" phenomenon, with progressive loss of satisfactory pain control and development of new myelopathic symptoms.
- Epidural fibrosis
- Percutaneous spinal cord stimulator
- Spinal cord compression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology