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Chronic Pain of Spinal Origin: The Costs of Intervention

Straus, Barry N., MD

Supplement: Interventional Management of Chronic Benign Spinal Pain Syndromes

The cost of chronic benign spinal pain is large and growing. The costs of interventional treatment for spinal pain were at a minimum of $13 billion (U.S. dollars) in 1990, and the costs are growing at least 7% per year. Medical treatment of chronic pain costs $9000 to $19,000 per person per year. The costs of interventional therapy is calculated. Methods of evaluating differential treatments in terms of costs are described. Cost-minimization versus cost–effectiveness approaches are described. Spinal cord stimulation and intraspinal drug infusion systems are alternatives that can be justified on a cost basis. Cost minimization analysis suggests that epidural injections under fluoroscopy may not be justified by the current literature.

From the North Georgia Pain Clinic, Canton, Georgia.

Device Status/Drug Statement: The submitted manuscript does not contain information about medical devices or drugs.

Conflict of Interest: No funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.

Address reprint requests to Barry N. Straus, MD, North Georgia Pain Clinic, 1320 Oakside Drive, Suite 203, Canton, GA 30114. E-mail:

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.