Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) delivers low-voltage electrical stimulation to the dorsal columns of the spinal cord to block the sensation of pain; this is achieved through a surgically implanted SCS device, which comes equipped with a radio frequency receiver. The neurostimulator device is also issued with a standard power source (battery) that can be implanted or worn externally. Other neurostimulators target the dorsal root ganglion.
Spinal cord stimulation with standard or high-frequency stimulation may be considered medically necessary for treatment of severe and chronic pain of the trunk or limbs that is refractory to all other pain therapies when performed according to policy guidelines.
Dorsal root ganglion neurostimulation is considered medically necessary for the treatment of severe and chronic pain of the trunk or limbs that is refractory to all other pain therapies when performed according to policy guidelines.
Spinal cord stimulation is considered investigational in all other situations including, but not limited to, treatment of critical limb ischemia to forestall amputation and treatment of refractory angina pectoris, heart failure, and cancer-related pain.
Patient selection focuses on determining whether the patient is refractory to other types of treatment. The following considerations may apply.
“Burst” neurostimulation is an alternate programming of a standard SCS device. A clinician programmer application is used to configure a standard SCS device to provide stimulation in “bursts” rather than at a constant (“tonic”) rate.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued instructions that the existing implantable neurostimulator code C1820 should only be used for stimulators that are not high frequency.