Spinal Cord Stimulation

A  spinal cord stimulator is a treatment modality that is most often used for treat variety of chronic neuropathic pain conditions. Spinal cord stimulator deliver low voltage electrical pulses to the spinal cord, by placing a small electrode into the epidural space outside the spinal cord, relieving chronic neuropathic pain. Stimulators can be controlled externally, interrupting pain signals traveling between the spine and the brain. A trial is first performed by placing a temporary electrode through a needle, to allow the patient a chance to first experience the treatment modality and the degree of pain relief and undergoing a permanent implant. The trial in most cases will last five to seven days, at which point the electrode is removed, and the patient will decide whether to proceed with the implant or not.


Did you know?

First spinal cord stimulator implant was implanted in 1967 and since the technology has undergone extraordinary advances. Spinal cord stimulation is a one of a kind treatment modality, which is completely drug free, and allows the patient a chance to experience the benefits first hand during the trial.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator?

A spinal cord stimulators recommended for patients suffering with chronic neuropathic pain as a result of lumbar radiculopathy, failed back surgery syndrome, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and phantom limb pain.  Multiple other conditions have been successfully treated with spinal cord stimulation. Doctors in RA Pain Services are highly trained in performing this procedure, and will discuss this option with the appropriate candidates during your consultation at one of the RA Pain Services locations.

What should I expect during a spinal cord stimulator trial procedure?

Placement of a trial spinal cord stimulator device is an outpatient procedure that usually takes less than an hour to complete. Light sedation will be administered, but most patients are awake during the procedure. Using x-ray guidance, spinal cord stimulator electrode is threaded into the epidural space (space surrounding the spinal cord) through a needle. Once the electrode is placed over the appropriate area, the device is turned on and stimulation performed to ensure that the painful areas are covered. Patients go home the same day, and are seen in the office for follow up in five to seven days to discuss the results of the trial.

What types of results can I expect from a spinal cord stimulator trial?

The effects of spinal cord stimulation vary from person to person. Most people report significant reduction in pain and improvement in function, while a some patients find the stimulation unpleasant and report minimal pain relief. A trial is used to determine the efficacy and overall benefit of the treatment modality. Your doctor will see you for follow up five to seven days after the trial to discuss the results of your trial and determine whether permanent spinal cord stimulation is right for you.

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