A spinal cord stimulator, known as an SCS, uses electrical impulses to relieve severe, chronic pain within the back, arms and legs. This is an alternative option and indicated in patients who have diagnosis of chronic pain syndrome, failed back surgery syndrome, post-laminectomy syndrome, recalcitrant nerve pain due to neuropathy, nerve pain from spinal pathologies but not a candidate for major surgery or repeated surgeries.
The stimulator is controlled remotely with a wireless device, allowing the patient to turn it on or off, adjust the stimulation power level and switch between programs. It is believed that the success within this minimally invasive method of pain management stems from the electrical pulses generated, which prevent pain signals from being received by the brain. The pulses interfere with certain signals that make you experience pain and can even block them entirely from the brain’s perception.
Patients are required to undergo an initial trial with an external spinal cord stimulator. If the trial is successful, a stimulator is permanently implanted beneath the patient’s skin in the buttocks or the abdomen. A team of spine surgeon and pain management physicians will carefully evaluate each patient to determine the appropriateness of a spinal cord stimulator implant. Typically, ideal candidates are those who suffer from neuropathic pain, severe and chronic syndromes, debilitating nerve-related pain and/or those who have experienced the failure of conservative treatment options.
The first step in receiving a spinal cord stimulator implant is to undergo a trial implantation. Typically, the trial will involve the following:
Once the trial has been completed and a spine surgeon and a pain management physician have determined this is a viable course of treatment for you, permanent implantation will be performed under sedation or general anesthesia. The implant is positioned beneath the skin and the leads are connected to its battery. The electrical pulses are then programmed and controlled using a wireless external programmer for easy control.
At Microspine, Dr. T works closely with each patient to create the best treatment plan for their individual needs.