Spinal cord stimulation – also called SCS – is a remarkable treatment for chronic pain sufferers that we perform at NJ Pain Care Specialists. SCS uses an implantable pain-blocking device that’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The device features tiny, battery-powered transmitters that deliver electronic impulses through leads implanted along the spinal cord. The impulses interfere with pain messages traveling from nerves to the brain.
Candidates for SCS include people who suffer from neuropathic pain, and for patients who have gotten insufficient relief from traditional treatments. If SCS is recommended by your doctor at NJCS, we will proceed slowly and carefully, beginning with a trial run to ensure that the device is right for you. Here is a brief overview of the process:
Implanting the Trial Device
After you are made comfortable, the injection site will be anesthetized to numb it. One or more insulated wire leads will be inserted through an epidural needle or through a small incision into the space surrounding the spinal cord, called the epidural space.
Finding the Right Location
Electrodes at the end of the leads will produce electrical pulses that stimulate the nerves and block pain signals. Based on your feedback, the physician will determine where to place the stimulators to best block your pain. The leads will be connected to an external trial stimulator, which you’ll use for approximately one week to determine if SCS is helping.
Determining Its Effectiveness
If you and your physician agree that the amount of pain relief is acceptable, the system may be permanently implanted. At the end of the trial implantation, the leads will be removed.
This procedure may be performed while you’re under sedation or general anesthesia. First, one or more permanent leads will be inserted through an epidural needle or a small incision into the predetermined location in the epidural space. Next, a small incision will be created, and the implantable pulse generator (IPG) battery positioned beneath the skin. It is most often implanted in the buttocks or the abdomen. The leads will then be connected to the IPG battery.
The implant’s electrical pulses will be programmed with an external wireless programmer. You will be able to use the programmer to turn the system on or off, adjust the stimulation power level and switch between different programs.
After SCS Implantation
It’s possible you may experience mild discomfort and swelling at the incision sites for several days. Then, you should return to living the life that was stolen from you by debilitating pain.