Editor-in-Chief: Alaa Abd-Elsayed, MD, PhD
BACKGROUND: High-frequency spinal cord stimulation (HF-SCS) has become very popular in the management of chronic pain worldwide. As it relies on generating high-frequency electrical impulses, there is a risk of interference with other devices such as cochlear implants that utilize similar principles. A literature search did not reveal any case reports of HF-SCS implantation in a patient with cochlear implants.
CASE REPORT: A 75-year-old White woman with a history of bilateral cochlear implants (Cochlear Americas Nucleus® with cp910 processor) for severe sensorineural hearing loss presented to our chronic pain clinic with lumbosacral radiculopathy. The patient underwent a HF-SCS trial with entry point at the L1-L2 space and the leads positioned at the top and bottom of T8. The patient did not experience any auditory interference with her Cochlear implant at triple the average SCS stimulation strength. During the follow-up visit the next week, the patient reported nearly 80% symptomatic pain relief and significant functional improvement. There was no change in her hearing and no evidence of interference. The patient ultimately underwent percutaneous SCS paddle electrode placement and at 3 months, continues to have excellent pain relief without any auditory interactions.
CONCLUSION: We successfully implanted a HF-SCS at the thoracic level in a patient with bilateral cochlear implants without any auditory interference.
KEY WORDS: Cochlear implant, lumbar radiculopathy, spinal cord stimulation