Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial and Implant

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Indications – Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is indicated for chronic, intractable neuropathic pain that has not responded to less invasive treatment methods. Chronic neuropathic pain can be very debilitating and severely limit activities of daily living and quality of life. Chronic neuropathic pain persists beyond the normal tissue recovery period, is not protective, and is not the result of ongoing injury. Therefore, chronic neuropathic pain can become a disease unto itself and not just a symptom of another disease. Spinal Cord Stimulators use electricity to modulate the pain sensation at the spinal cord level. It is FDA approved to manage pain of the trunk and limbs. There are many different types of spinal cord stimulators. During your office visit, we’ll review the different types of Spinal Cord Stimulator devices and determine which device will work best for your specific pain.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial – During the spinal cord stimulator trial, we place temporary electrodes in the epidural space. The electrodes are brought through the skin and connected to an external pulse generator. The electrodes will then be programmed to help treat your pain. Spinal cord stimulator electrodes are most commonly implanted either in the neck (cervical) or mid back (thoracic).

Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant – If you have a successful trial, we will then implant a permanent spinal cord stimulator system. The trial helps us determine the optimal electrode placement for the permanent implant. The biggest difference between the trial and the implant is that the electrodes are connected to a pulse generator (like a pacemaker) that is implanted in a small pocket under your skin.