Spinal Cord Stimulation is a procedure we perform in order to alleviate chronic neck and back pain as well as nerve pain in the arms and legs. It is like a TENS unit except it is placed inside the spine instead of on the outside of the skin. This procedure can significantly improve chronic neck and back pain as well as nerve pain (sharp, shooting, burning, tingling, stabbing, numbness) in the arms and legs. For Thoracic SCS, this can potentially help pain and numbness from the mid back all the way down to the feet.
This procedure consists of 2 parts. A test that lasts 5-7 days and then an implant. For the test/trial, Our doctor will numb the back and then insert a thin electrode into the epidural space of the spine. That electrode is connected to a battery on the outside of your skin with a sterile dressing applied over it. The battery sends an electrical signal to the spinal cord that disguises the pain signal going to the brain.
We then program your stimulator to make sure it covers areas of pain. We will give you a controller that allows you turn the stimulator off/on and you will have the ability to change the settings as well. We will have someone contact you every day during this trial to check on you and help make any adjustments to your stimulator that may be needed to ensure maximum pain relief. They will also be in contact with our doctor every day during the trial.
After 5-7 days of the trial, we bring you back in and we will remove the trial leads. This procedure is extremely effective. If your trial is successful (relieves the majority of your pain), we then send you to a surgeon for part 2 which is the implant. This is a minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon will place the electrical leads similar to our doctor, however, the main difference is that instead of the battery being on the outside of the skin, the surgeon makes a small incision in the love handle area and places the battery a few centimeters beneath the skin. This is an outpatient surgery so you are in and out same day. Pain recovery time is minimal compared to most back surgeries.