Patients suffering from neuropathic pain and have not received relief from conservative treatment are perfect candidates for spinal cord stimulator implant. Electric pulses from the spinal cord stimulator help relieve chronic back pain as well as pain in the arms and legs. Doctors who use this kind of treatment believe the electrical pulses stop communication of pain signaled to the brain.
Before inserted one or more insulated wire leads by an epidural needle, a small incision surrounding the spinal cord (epidural space) is anesthetized. Then electrodes at the end of the lead send electrical pulses, which block the pain signals by the nerves being stimulated. While the procedure is occurring, the patient identifies the areas where the pain is blocked the best. To determine whether the SCS will work, the lead connects to an external trial stimulator for approximately a week.
After the seven-day trial, if the amount of pain relief is adequate a permanent implantation is performed and the first lead is removed. The patient goes under a general anesthesia or sedation for the permanent implantation. A location is predetermined for the insertion of the leads through an epidural needle or small incision in the epidural space. The implantable pulse generator is positioned beneath the skin through a small incision. A common place the implantable pulse generator is positioned is the buttocks or abdomen. The IPG battery is then connected to the lead.
An external control unit programs the implant’s electrical pulses. Another option is allowing the patient to control the system by turning it off or on as well as the adjust the strength of power and different programs. Normal side effects post-surgery are mild discomfort experienced by the patient as well as the incision area swelling. These symptoms can last up to several days.