Medical Policy:
Transcutaneous Transducer Garments (TTG)
Durable Medical Equipment
Effective Date:
March 18, 2019
Issued Date:
March 18, 2019
Last Revision Date:
July 2017
Annual Review:
February 2019

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and/or neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) can ordinarily be delivered to patients through the use of conventional electrodes, adhesive tapes and lead wires. There may be times, however, when it is medically necessary for certain patients receiving TENS or NMES treatment to use a form-fitting conductive garment (i.e., a garment with conductive fibers which are separated from the patient's skin by layers of fabric). This conductive garment is worn as an alternative to conventional electrodes, adhesive tapes and lead wires.

Policy Position

A form-fitting conductive garment and related supplies may be considered medically necessary when:

  • The garment has received permission or approval for marketing by the Food and Drug Administration; and
  • The garment has been prescribed by a physician for use in delivering covered TENS or NMES treatment; and
  • ANY ONE of the medical indications outlined below is met:
    • The patient cannot manage without the conductive garment because there is such a large area or so many sites to be stimulated and the stimulation would have to be delivered so frequently that it is not feasible to use conventional electrodes, adhesive tapes and lead wires; or
    • The patient cannot manage without the conductive garment for the treatment of chronic intractable pain because the areas or sites to be stimulated are inaccessible with the use of conventional electrodes, adhesive tapes and lead wires; or
    • The patient has a documented medical condition such as skin problems that preclude the application of conventional electrodes, adhesive tapes and lead wires; or
    • The patient requires electrical stimulation beneath a cast either to treat disuse atrophy, where the nerve supply to the muscle is intact, or to treat chronic intractable pain; or
    • The patient has a medical need for rehabilitation strengthening (pursuant to a written plan of rehabilitation) following an injury where the nerve supply to the muscle is intact.

A conductive garment is considered not medically necessary for use with a TENS device during the two month trial period unless:

  • There is documentation of a skin problem that existed prior to the start of the trial period; or
  • A medical review establishes that use of a conductive garment is medically necessary for the patient.

Total payments for a rental item may not exceed its allowable purchase price, except for those items identified as life sustaining DME. 

Refer to Medical Policy Z-7 Electrical Nerve Stimulation for additional information.

Place of Service: Outpatient

The use of a transcutaneous transducer garment is typically an outpatient procedure which is only eligible for coverage as an inpatient procedure in special circumstances, including, but not limited to, the presence of a co-morbid condition that would require monitoring in a more controlled environment such as the inpatient setting.

The policy position applies to all commercial lines of business


This policy is designed to address medical guidelines that are appropriate for the majority of individuals with a particular disease, illness, or condition. Each person's unique clinical or other circumstances may warrant individual consideration, based on review of applicable medical records, as well as other regulatory, contractual and/or legal requirements.

Medical policies do not constitute medical advice, nor are they intended to govern the practice of medicine. They are intended to reflect Highmark's reimbursement and coverage guidelines. Coverage for services may vary for individual members, based on the terms of the benefit contract.

Highmark retains the right to review and update its medical policy guidelines at its sole discretion. These guidelines are the proprietary information of Highmark. Any sale, copying or dissemination of the medical policies is prohibited; however, limited copying of medical policies is permitted for individual use.

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