Spinal Cord Stimulation

What is spinal cord stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation is used to treat patients with chronic pain that have not obtained relief with other modalities. It is used primarily for patients with pain and discomfort in their limbs though some patients with back pain do obtain relief as well. Successful patients often report 50-90 percent reduction of their pain. This can result in increased activity and decreased use of pain medication.

How does it work?

The theory of neurostimulation is that the stimulator will apply a current the the pain tracts along the spinal cord that therefore blocks the brains ability to sense the previously perceived pain. As many electrodes exist along the array a variety of individualized programs can be created.

What is involved in the treatment?

The process of evaluation a patient for spinal cord stimulation is a two step process. In the first step, the patient undergoes a trial in which a percutaneous electrode array is implanted and then connected to an external generator. The patient is given a time period to evaluate if the degree of relief is acceptable. If the trial is successful a permanent array and generator can be implanted in a similar manner to a pacemaker. A remote control can be used to turn the stimulator on and off and cycle through various programs.

A number or factors will help determine the optimal treatment paradigm. Our team of neurosurgeons can aid in navigating among the options and provide a treatment plan tailored to you.