The spinal cord stimulator will, SCS for short, provides back, neck, arm, and leg pain relief using electrical stimulation. The electrical impulses inhibit pain sensations from going to the brain. Candidates for SCS include individuals suffering from severe chronic pain with whom conservative treatments have failed or possibly surgical intervention is not an option.
Before having a final SCS implant put in, the person has to undergo a trial implant initially. The physician will sterilize the back region and place an epidural needle. Once the needle reaches the spinal canal, the doctor pushes a catheter through it.
The individual cannot be completely put out for the trial implantation. The reason is the physician must ask the patient about where pain relief is achieved during the procedure. Once the catheter is in place at the recommended position it is secured and an external power supply and programmer are attached which provides power for the next five to seven days.
Over the 5 to 7 days the trial implant is in place, the patient keeps a journal describing pain relief and how much comes from the trial. If sufficient pain relief is achieved from it (over 50%), then it’s acceptable to move on to a final implant. The trial implant is removed either way after approximately 5 to 7 days.
The final stimulator is put in typically under general anesthesia or heavy sedation. A small low back incision is used with the doctor removing a bit of bone over the epidural canal. The final implant’s paddle lead is put into place in the middle region for pain relief.
The modern paddle lead maintains over 12 diodes with numerous programs available to help patients from all walks of chronic pain. With a spinal cord stimulator, the patient will then have quite a few options for chronic pain relief. A fluoroscopy x-ray machine is used to ensure middle paddle placement.
Once appropriate paddle position is achieved, the battery is then positioned in the subcutaneous tissue at the top part of the buttock. It just needs to be placed in an area that is not part of where a person sits. The newest batteries are great as they allow for recharging outside the skin during sleep. The patient can shift between programs with a remote control for whichever brings about the best pain relief.