High-Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation Therapy

Understanding HF-10 SCS

High-Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation Therapy (also known as HF-10 SCS) is used in treatment for relieving chronic pain symptoms, specifically in the back and legs. HF-10 SCS is the latest evolution of traditional spinal cord stimulation therapy. It sends out higher-frequency electrical pulses than previous SCS systems, with the goal of blocking pain signals from reaching the brain.


How SCS Works

Spinal Cord Stimulation operates by inserting one or more insulated wires into the epidural space of the spinal cord. Electrodes at the end of the lead produce electrical pulses that stimulate the surrounding nerves. When these nerves are stimulated, pain signals are blocked.

In order to isolate the offending pain receptors, the patient provides feedback as to where the stimulators are most effective.

During the trial period, a battery is worn on the belt while assessing the treatment’s effectiveness. If the treatment is effective, a battery-powered pulse generator is implanted just below the skin. The unit is designed for comfortable wear during most everyday activities, including driving and sleeping.

For more information regarding installation, traditional SCS and its installation, please refer to the Spinal Cord Stimulation page.


Advantage of High-Frequency SCS vs. Traditional SCS

Until recently, SCS therapies operated on frequencies below 1,200 Hz, most commonly between 40 and 60. At these frequencies, SCS would mask a patient’s sensation of pain by covering the area of pain with paresthesias.

Paresthesias are stimulation-induced sensations like what most describe as pins and needles, prickling, tingling or vibrating sensations. Unfortunately, paresthesias are difficult for people to ignore. Often the vibrations are distracting during everyday tasks requiring concentration, or serve as a reminder of the patient’s pain. In addition, traditional SCS systems have been known to send occasional shocks while bending or twisting the body’s core.

High-Frequency SCS operates at a 10,000 Hz frequency in conjunction with special programming and lead placement. When installed, HF 10 operates to block pain signals without any use of paresthesia, making it much easier to forget the presence of this therapy.

Results of High-Frequency SCS

HF10 therapy has been used to treat thousands of patients since 2010 in Europe and Australia, and the results have been promising. During trials for High-Frequency SCS, patients have shown excellent response. It was more likely to provide a positive response than traditional SCS, and produced a greater improvement in pain score.

In 2015, the treatment system was approved by the FDA as an effective treatment for back and leg pain. It does not require patient restrictions on motor vehicle operation and remains implanted during a 3T conditional MRI on the head and extremities.


Determining Who is Eligible for High-Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation

Many patients with chronic abnormal pain signals in their back and legs will be eligible for HF SCS. This includes patients that have undergone surgery and treatment through medication. Consult your Premier Pain doctor about whether High-Frequency SCS is appropriate for your pain management.