Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant

Spinal cord stim­u­la­tion (also called SCS) uses elec­tri­cal impuls­es to relieve chron­ic pain of the back, arms and legs. It is believed that elec­tri­cal puls­es pre­vent pain sig­nals from being received by the brain. SCS can­di­dates include peo­ple who suf­fer from neu­ro­path­ic pain and for whom con­ser­v­a­tive treat­ments have failed. The injec­tion site is anes­thetized, one or more insu­lat­ed wire leads are insert­ed through an epidur­al nee­dle or through a small inci­sion into the space sur­round­ing the spinal cord, called the epidur­al space. Elec­trodes at the end of the lead pro­duce elec­tri­cal puls­es that stim­u­late the nerves, block­ing pain sig­nals. The patient gives feed­back to help the physi­cian deter­mine where to place the stim­u­la­tors to best block the patien­t’s pain. The leads are con­nect­ed to an exter­nal tri­al stim­u­la­tor, which will be used for approx­i­mate­ly one week to deter­mine if SCS will help the patient. If the patient and the physi­cian deter­mine that the amount of pain relief is accept­able, the sys­tem may be per­ma­nent­ly implant­ed. At the end of the tri­al implan­ta­tion, the leads are removed. The per­ma­nent implan­ta­tion may be per­formed while the patient is under seda­tion or gen­er­al anes­the­sia. First, one or more per­ma­nent leads are insert­ed through an epidur­al nee­dle or a small inci­sion into the pre­de­ter­mined loca­tion in the epidur­al space. Next, a small inci­sion is cre­at­ed, and the implantable pulse gen­er­a­tor (IPG) bat­tery is posi­tioned beneath the skin. It is most often implant­ed in the but­tocks or the abdomen. The leads are then con­nect­ed to the IPG bat­tery. The implant’s elec­tri­cal puls­es are pro­grammed with an exter­nal wire­less pro­gram­mer. The patient can use the pro­gram­mer to turn the sys­tem on or off, adjust the stim­u­la­tion pow­er lev­el and switch between dif­fer­ent programs.

After surgery, patients may expe­ri­ence mild dis­com­fort and swelling at the inci­sion sites for sev­er­al days.

Click here to review an illus­tra­tion of the Spinal Cord Stim­u­la­tor Implant.
(Infor­ma­tion obtained from www​.viewmed​ica​.com 2012 Swarm Interactive).