Spinal cord stimulation

What is it:

Spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is a device, which delivers low voltage electrical stimulation to the spinal cord. The electrical stimulation to the spinal cord is delivered through one or two wires, which are carefully placed in the epidural space. The epidural space is a space adjacent to the spinal cord.

Purpose:

The goal of the implantation of spinal cord stimulator is to reduce rather than eliminate pain. It might reduce the pain by 50 percent or more, it could increase the activity level and it might reduce the use of narcotic medications.

How is it Done:

The spinal cord stimulator is implanted in two stages. The first stage is a trial and it is performed in the operating room with local anesthetic and intravenous sedation. In this stage, we place the wires through the skin, into the epidural space, which is adjacent to the spinal cord. Then the wires are connected to a stimulating generator. After 24 hours observation in the hospital the patient is discharged to home. We leave the wires in place for a week. This is really a test to determine if a permanent stimulating generator should be used. If the trial is successful, we place a permanent generator under skin. The generator contains a battery. When the battery runs down it is replaced. Placement of the gererator under the skin is done in the operating room and after the procedure the patient goes home. General anesthesia is not needed for the implantation of spinal cord stimulator.
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