How does spinal cord stimulation work?
Pain signals travel from your painful part of the body along the spinal cord to your brain. Spinal cord stimulation involves stimulation of specific parts of the spinal cord with tiny electrical impulses to block or mask the pain signals. A small battery implanted under your skin produces these electrical impulses and deliver these electrical impulses to the spinal cord through a lead (a special medical wire).
Where are the leads and the battery placed?
The leads are surgically placed in your back over the spinal cord. The battery is placed under the skin at the buttock area or the abdomen through a small surgical incision.
Is electrical stimulation harmful?
No. The electrical impulses delivered to the spinal cord does not cause permanent changes to the spine or nerves.
What does neurostimulation feel like?
Most patients who have experienced spinal cord stimulation report a tingling sensation in the area of pain. However, it does not completely eliminate the pain so the degree of pain reduction varies from person to person.
What are the different steps of the procedure?
Before permanently implanting the battery and wires (leads), your pain specialist will perform a trial stimulation. During this procedure, a small incision is made on your skin over your back and a lead is place near the spinal cord. An external battery or impulse generator that stays outside of your body will be connected to the lead. A short test stimulation will then be performed to determine if spinal cord stimulation can effectively "cover" your painful area. You will then return home with the external battery to give you an opportunity to experience the system. The doctor will determine your response to spinal cord stimulation and your level of pain relief.
If your trial stimulation is successful, you may be a candidate for permanent implantation of a neurostimulation system.