West Virginia Pain Institute physician defends spinal cord stimulators after scathing report — 3 points

A recent Associated Press report saying the FDA received more than 80,000 injury reports linked to spinal cord stimulators in the past decade discounts significant information, Andrew Thymius, DO, told WVA.

Here's what you should know:

1. The report doesn't reflect the success Dr. Thymius has seen in his own practice, the West Virginia Pain Institute in Beckley. An estimated 85 percent to 90 percent of his patients show improved function and quality of life using the stimulators, he said.

2. The report lumps together adverse events ranging from lead migration to battery failure, some of which are less significant and easy to correct, Dr. Thymius told WVA.

3. Dr. Thymius contends the stimulators are more effective than pain medications and provide an alternative treatment to pain pills.

"These alternative treatments actually help patients better than pain medications," he told WVA. "All pain medication does is mask the pain as well, but it doesn't improve their quality of life and function. Stimulators have been proven to improve quality of life and function and put people back to work."

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