The Spinal Cord Stimulator Experts
A Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) is an implantable neurostimulator device that consists of a tiny insulated wire called a lead, placed in the epidural space between the vertebrae and spinal cord, and a power source called a battery or receiver, placed under the skin near the buttocks or abdomen. When activated using an external remote, the device sends mild electric currents that block pain messages to the brain.
Physicians Who Perform Spinal Cord Stimulaion
North American Spine partner physicians are board-certified, minimally invasive specialists in spinal cord stimulation and other related procedures. They are among the best in the field, and many have served as teachers of the next generation of minimally invasive specialists.
Unlike at most practices, North American Spine partner physicians may collaborate on a complex procedure to ensure that all the required skill and knowledge is brought to the case. But perhaps the most telling fact of all is this: 97% of patients say they would recommend their doctor to a friend.
I had a bulging disc, sciatica, and annular tear damage. After my procedure, I'm back working at the fire station, playing golf, running, and doing anything and everything. PAIN FREE.
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Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulation
In situations where severe pain has become chronic and cannot be treated at the root through minimally invasive spine surgery, a pain specialist may recommend SCS. Neurostimulation is based on a theory published in 1965 that nerves can transmit one of two sensations at a time: pain, or a sensation related to touch. For more than 40 years, neurostimulation has been used to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain – helping people who cannot otherwise get the pain relief they need.
An ideal candidate for SCS implant might be someone whose pain is marked by numbness, burning or tingling. This indicates that their pain is neuropathic. It has been found that failed back surgery syndrome, cervical and lumbar radiculitis, neuropathy, and complex regional pain syndrome all may be helped by this procedure. A type of “neuromodulation,” spinal cord stimulation has also succeeded in patients who are for some reason ineligible for other forms of spine surgery. An additional benefit of spinal cord stimulation is that patients are able to “test drive” a temporary version of it before committing to the permanent procedure.
Details of Spinal Cord Stimulation
To ensure the SCS will work for the patient, a trial must be performed before the permanent device is implanted. A hollow needle is inserted through the skin into the epidural space between the bony vertebra and the spinal cord using fluoroscopy (a type of X-ray). The lead is properly positioned and then attached to an external generator and power supply (worn on a belt). You will keep a written log of the stimulation settings during different activities and the level of pain relief. After 3-5 days, you will return to the doctor’s office to discuss permanently implanting the stimulator.
The trial is considered successful if you experienced greater than 50% improvement in pain. The permanent leads are inserted through an epidural needle or a small incision into the locations determined during the trial procedure. A small incision is created near the buttocks or abdomen for the implantable pulse generator (IPG) battery to be implanted. The leads are then connected to the IPG battery. The implant’s electrical pulses are programmed with an external remote, which allows you to turn the system on or off, and adjust the stimulation power level and select different programs.
Preparing for Spinal Cord Stimulation
Before pursuing a Spinal Cord Stimulation, prospective patients should have tried conservative non-surgical methods, such as physical therapy, chiropractic, and injections. If those methods have not produced meaningful relief, you may be a candidate for a North American Spine procedure.
Spinal Cord Stimulation Recovery
Most patients will be able to return to work or play the very next day, though the incision site may have some dull soreness. More in-depth, customized recovery guidelines will be provided by your North American Spine physician. While every medical procedure carries some risk of injury or infection, complications and adverse events are very rare. Your physician will counsel you on these risks prior to the procedure.
To determine if you are a candidate for spinal cord stimulation, contact us anytime at 855.681.7480 or submit a form on this page.