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Evidence to Improve Care

10-kHz High-Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation for Adults With Chronic Noncancer Pain

Final Recommendation

  • The Quality business unit at Ontario Health, based on guidance from the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, recommends publicly funding spinal cord stimulation at frequencies up to and including 10 kHz in adults with chronic noncancer pain that is refractory to medical management

Read the final recommendation report

There are a number of treatment options for people with chronic pain not caused by cancer. But when standard treatments like physiotherapy and medication don’t work, high-frequency (10-kHz) spinal cord stimulation may be an option.

This treatment requires a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Electrodes and a device called a spinal cord stimulator are implanted under a person’s skin, outside the membrane that protects their spinal cord. It delivers an electrical current that blocks pain signals from the nerves to the brain, helping to relieve their chronic pain.

This health technology assessment looked at how safe and effective 10-kHz high-frequency spinal cord stimulation is for adults with chronic noncancer pain that does not respond to medical management. It also looked at the budget impact of publicly funding the treatment in adults who have not found relief with medication or other types of spinal cord stimulation. Finally, it looked at the experiences, preferences, and values of people with chronic noncancer pain.

Read the full health technology assessment report for more information.

10-kHz High-Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation for Adults With Chronic Noncancer Pain: A Health Technology Assessment (PDF)
March 2020

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The Ministry of Health is currently reviewing this recommendation.

The Ministry of Health has provided the following response: The Ministry has a standardized process in place to review health technology assessments and funding recommendations. This takes into consideration Ministry priorities, implementation options, the need for consultation with impacted stakeholders, and funding considerations.


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