Spinal Cord Stimulators

Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is the electrical stimulation of a precise level of the spinal cord to generate paresthesia to the area(s) the patient feels pain. SCS is an accepted treatment for certain intractable pain conditions, such as:

  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBBS)
  • Adhesive Arachnoiditis
  • Peripheral Causalgia/Neuropathy
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Phantom Limb/Stump Pain
  • Ischemic Pain of Vascular Origin

Successful outcomes are ensured by observing careful patient selection criteria. Patients typically do best when most of their pain involves the limbs, when there is no chemical abuse, and when there is minimal psychological overlay associated with their pain. Patients will be screened over a short period with a test lead to determine if proper paresthesia and pain relief are achievable.

The parameters of electrical stimulation are externally set by a programmer and are tailored to the needs of the patient.

Before any trial or permanent placement can be done, an MMPI or 500-question test must be completed first. We will refer you to a provider who can administer this test at your initial visit.

The initial trial involves the placement of an epidural lead into the spine for one week. A portable unit, the size of a remote control, is attached and can be placed on your belt. You will be able to control the amount of stimulation to determine if you are achieving the best effects.

If you feel that you would like a permanent stimulator, a future surgical date will be established. The surgery does not involve an overnight stay in the hospital and most patients are able to walk home after a few hours.

The surgery involves placing the lead into the epidural space of the spine and running the lead under the skin to the site of the stimulator unit. The unit is the size of a pager and is placed under the skin.

If the unit does not feel right or does not give proper pain control, it is easily removed.