Spinal Cord Stimulators and LCP Considerations

A spinal cord stimulator is a device that sends a low level of electricity into the spinal cord to relieve pain and can be one of two types: an implanted pulse generator where the battery is placed in the spine or a rechargeable battery. 

Good candidates for spinal cord stimulators are typically those who have failed conservative treatment. Most often, they are seen in people with failed back pain but can also be used for spinal cord injury, peripheral vascular disease, complex regional pain syndrome and pain after amputation.

The spinal cord stimulator requires a psychiatric evaluation before implantation and an initial trial to determine if the device will be effective for an individual. Then, the implantation can take place after a successful trial and psychiatric clearance if the spinal cord stimulator is powered by the implanted battery known as the pulse generator. This item needs to be replaced regularly, and physicians often recommend it every 7-10 years. Replacing the pulse generator requires an operating room procedure. The leads or electrodes may need replacing, which may be part of the life care plan. 

Life Care Plan Considerations

Life Care Plans often include the costs for:

  • Psychiatric evaluation and clearance
  • Spinal cord stimulator trial
  • Implantation Surgery
  • Office visits with pain management physician for monitoring and any programming of the device
  • Pulse generator (battery) replacement at recommended intervals

When reviewing past bills for the spinal cord stimulator, you can expect to see statements from facilities, providers, and anesthesia. There are specific equipment/procedures which are included in the bundled price for the service and should not be billed separately.

Dawn Cook has extensive experience in life care planning and reviewing past medical bills for spinal cord stimulators and other medical expenses. She has presented on spinal cord stimulators in life care planning and billing for the American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners.

To retain Dawn for your life care plan needs, call her at 702-544-2159.