SPINAL CORD STIMULATION (SCS)
WHAT IS SPINAL CORD STIMULATION?
Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) utilizes electrical impulses to relieve chronic pain in the back, arms, and legs. Experts believe that these electrical pulses provide relief by preventing pain signals from reaching the brain. Candidates for SCS include individuals who suffer from neuropathic pain and have found conservative treatments unsuccessful.
Firstly, the medical professional anesthetizes the injection site. Then, one or more insulated wire leads are inserted into the epidural space, either through an epidural needle or a small incision. The leads have electrodes at their ends, generating electrical impulses to stimulate the nerves and block pain signals.
Significantly, the patient’s feedback plays a vital role in assisting the physician in determining the optimal placement of the stimulators for effective pain alleviation. The physician utilizes an external trial stimulator to connect the leads and evaluate the potential benefits of SCS for the patient over approximately one week.
If both the patient and the physician agree that the level of pain relief achieved is satisfactory, they may proceed to permanently implant the system. Upon the conclusion of the trial implantation, the leads are carefully removed.
For the permanent implantation procedure, the patient may undergo sedation or general anesthesia. The procedure starts by inserting one or more permanent leads into the epidural space through an epidural needle or a small incision at a predetermined location. Consequently, the medical professional makes a small incision to position the implantable pulse generator (IPG) battery beneath the skin. Generally, the IPG battery is placed in either the buttocks or the abdomen. Then, the leads are connected to the IPG battery.
Using an external wireless programmer, the physician programs the electrical pulses generated by the implant. With the programmer, the patient gains control over turning the system on or off, adjusting the stimulation power level, and switching between different programs.
To learn more, we suggest watching the informative Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant video