A Comprehensive Review of Spinal Cord Stimulator Infections

Denis Cherkalin, Sarang S. Koushik, Simran Dua, Sadiq Rahman, Timothy Edmonds, Karina Gritsenko, Naum Shaparin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is approved to treat various pain conditions and is commonly seen in the chronic pain patient population. Due to the nature of the device and its location, infections associated with SCS have a particularly high morbidity. According to post-market data and medical device reports, 87% of patients receiving SCS implants were given perioperative antibiotics as the implantable neurostimulator or receiver pocket serve as the most common sites of infection. The most common antibiotics for surgical prophylaxis given are first-generation cephalosporins (cefalexin, cefazolin) at the time of implantation. If deep infection is suspected, imaging in the form of CT scan should be obtained as physical exam is not always sufficient. For infections involving the epidural space, vertebra, or intervertebral discs, MRI is the preferred imaging modality. If meningitis is suspected, a lumbar puncture is recommended. Positive cultures can help guide antibiotic therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-882
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent pain and headache reports
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Antibiotic therapy
  • Chronic pain
  • Infection
  • Neuromodulation
  • Spinal cord stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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