What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
SCS is a branch of neuromodulation. It is a minimally invasive procedure that involves positioning electrodes on the spinal cord to control and manage pain signals.
How it Works
Spinal cord stimulation is a two-stage process. The effect of spinal cord stimulation and the level of pain relief varies from patient to patient. Hence, it is important to check how your pain responds to SCS before your doctor implants the device permanently.
- Trial Version
- Permanent Implant
First, the spinal cord stimulator is implanted on a trial basis to test its suitability for the patient. A trial phase is necessary since all patients have different conditions and different levels of pain. The stimulation may be unsuitable for a specific patient and suitable for others. A trial period is usually a week, but it may be less or more, depending on the condition. This is enough time to evaluate its effectiveness both when you rest and while active.
In this phase, your doctor will implant the device permanently after the trial period is over. Your doctor will perform the permanent implantation only if the patient has experienced a reduction in pain by at least 50% during the trial period. Your doctor will implant a device around the size of a watch face under the skin. It is implanted either in the upper buttock or abdominal area.
Furthermore, spinal cord stimulation can be an ideal treatment plan when medications and other pain-relieving therapies fail to dispel pain symptoms. Your doctor will recommend this treatment if you experience:
- Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)
- Chronic pain in the neck, back or legs
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
- Diabetic Neuropathy
Spinal cord stimulation is performed after giving controlled anesthesia to the patient while they are conscious. The patient is usually awake during the procedure. It helps to test the electrodes and to know they are in the right place.
The patient can go home once the procedure is finished and the programming is complete.