- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
What is a spinal cord stimulator implant?
Spinal cord stimulator is used to eliminate pain in your lower back into the sciatic nerve. This technique uses electrical impulses that prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. Spinal cord stimulator is typically used for patients for whom conservative treatment had been ineffective and surgery has not helped.
The use of local anesthetics with the help of a needle through a small incision near the spinal cord, the physician places one or more electrodes that prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. Patient's physician will help determine where the electrodes must be placed by the sensation that blocks pain stimulation.
The electrodes are connected to temporary stimulator to be used for several days to determine whether the spinal cord stimulator helps the patient or not. This procedure is known as spinal cord stimulator trial. If during the approval period, the pain reduces by 50%, a permanent spinal cord stimulator system can be placed.
Spinal Cord Stimulation Implantation: Percutaneous Implantation Techniques
Second procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia. Temporary electrodes are removed through an incision or needle electrodes are placed permanently. The receiver is implanted subcutaneously in breech or abdominal cavity. Power supply for the implant can be internal (pulse generator) or external (transmitter or antenna). The electrical impulses of the implant are controlled with an external device, which allows the patient on or off and change the intensity, frequency and duration of impulses.
After implantation, the patient may feel moderate discomfort and swelling at the incision site for several days. Over some time period of use of SCS, the electrodes can move or be damaged by heavy use and then the patient requires spinal cord stimulator replacement.
Possible side effects are comparable to the effects of a single injection. Patients may have allergic reactions, bacterial infection or bleeding that rarely happens. It is obligatory to inform your doctor about the pregnancy or the use of blood thinning medications before being placed on spinal cord stimulators.