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Network Meta-analysis and Economic Evaluation of Neurostimulation Interventions for Chronic Non-surgical Refractory back Pain.

OBJECTIVES: Different types of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) have now been evaluated for the management of chronic non-surgical refractory back pain (NSRBP). A direct comparison between the different types of SCS or between closed-loop SCS with conventional medical management (CMM) for patients with NSRBP has not been previously conducted, and therefore, their relative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness remain unknown. The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review, network meta-analysis (NMA) and economic evaluation of closed-loop SCS compared with fixed-output SCS and CMM for patients with NSRBP.

METHODS: Databases were searched to 8th September 2023. Randomised controlled trials of SCS for NSRBP were included. Results of studies were combined using fixed-effect NMA models. A cost-utility analysis was performed from the perspective of the UK National Health Service with results reported as incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY).

RESULTS: Closed-loop SCS resulted in statistically and clinically significant reductions in pain intensity (mean difference [MD] 32.72 [95% CrI 15.69-49.78]) and improvements in secondary outcomes compared to fixed-output SCS at 6-months follow-up. Compared to CMM, both closed-loop and fixed-output SCS result in statistically and clinically significant reductions in pain intensity (closed-loop SCS vs. CMM MD 101.58 [95% CrI 83.73-119.48]; fixed-output SCS versus CMM MD 68.86 [95% CrI 63.43-74.31]) and improvements in secondary outcomes. Cost-utility analysis shows that closed-loop SCS dominates fixed-output SCS and CMM, and fixed-output SCS also dominates CMM.

DISCUSSION: Current evidence shows that closed-loop and fixed-output SCS provide more benefits and are cost-saving compared to CMM for patients with NSRBP.

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