This is a procedure involving the implantation of a battery-operated device that sends electrical signals to the spinal cord to intercept pain signals to the brain. Recent advances have made the stimulators last as long as eight years.
How It’s Performed
After the patient has had a successful trial spinal cord stimulator, an Illinois Pain Institute pain management physician implants a permanent device under the skin that sends mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord, while the patient is lightly sedated.
Candidates For This Procedure
People suffering from neuropathic pain – burning, stabbing or tingling pain – particularly after previous back or leg surgery as well as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). The procedure doesn’t work well for patients with inflammatory disc pain.
How Long It Takes
The spinal cord stimulation procedure can take up to 2 to 3 hours.
Patients may experience procedure-related pain for a few days. Lifting, bending, stretching, and twisting should be avoided immediately following the procedure. However, light exercise is encouraged to build strength and help relieve pain.
Approximately, 50% of patients respond favorable to a three to five day trial. Of those responding favorably the pain is reduced from severe to a tingling sensation.