Spinal Cord Stimulator
Chronic back pain can be an overwhelming and debilitating condition, impacting every aspect of daily life. For those who have explored various treatments and therapies without finding lasting relief, spinal cord stimulation offers a ray of hope. This innovative procedure involves the use of a spinal cord stimulator, a small device that can significantly reduce or even eliminate chronic back pain. At Gottlieb Spine, we understand the toll chronic pain takes on your life, and we specialize in cutting-edge solutions like spinal cord stimulators to help you regain control. Explore the potential of spinal cord stimulation as a solution to a pain-free life.
What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
A spinal cord stimulator is a small implantable device that gets placed close to the spine. It generates mild electrical impulses that disrupt the transmission of pain signals along the spinal cord to the brain. Traditional spinal cord stimulators produce a gentle tingling sensation that masks pain, while high-frequency stimulators alleviate pain without this sensation.
A spinal cord stimulation system (SCS) is comprised of several components, including:
- Neurostimulator: a compact device that emits the electrical signals
- Lead wire: a thin wire that delivers the electrical impulses sent by the neurostimulator
- Remote control: a device enabling you to adjust stimulation levels and power the neurostimulator on/off
Certain spinal cord stimulators feature a rechargeable battery, while others operate without the need for charging.
What Conditions Does a Spinal Cord Stimulator Treat?
Spinal cord stimulator surgery may be a solution for those who haven’t found chronic pain relief from previous surgeries, medication, or other forms of conservative treatment. Conditions the spinal cord stimulator treats include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal tumors
- Nerve pain
It is important to note that the spinal cord stimulator does not resolve the root cause of your pain; it simply stops you from feeling it. The primary requirements for being a candidate include:
- Your pain has not shown improvement with previous treatment
- It is not recommended to pursue additional surgical procedures
- Your chronic pain will not lead to any further physical impact
How Do I Know the Spinal Cord Stimulator is Right For Me?
Understanding if the spinal cord stimulator is the right treatment for you has several steps, with a crucial one being the trial period.
- Initial evaluation: Your journey begins with an evaluation by a pain specialist or spine surgeon, like Dr. Jamie Gottlieb. They will assess your medical history, conduct a thorough physical examination, and review any diagnostic tests you’ve had. This evaluation helps determine if you’re a suitable candidate for an SCS.
- Discussion of benefits and risks: If you’re considered a potential candidate, your doctor will discuss the potential benefits and risks of spinal cord stimulation. They will explain how the device works and what kind of relief you can reasonably expect.
- Trial period: Before committing to permanent implantation, you’ll undergo a trial period. During this phase, temporary leads with electrodes are placed near your spinal cord through a minimally invasive procedure. These leads are connected to an external, wearable SCS device. This trial typically lasts about a week.
- Assessment of trial results: Throughout the trial period, you’ll monitor and record your pain levels and how well the spinal cord stimulator is managing your pain. You’ll work closely with your doctor to fine-tune the device’s settings to optimize pain relief.
- Decision for permanent implant: If the trial is successful and you experience significant pain relief and improved quality of life, you and your doctor can discuss the possibility of proceeding with permanent SCS implantation.
The trial period is a crucial step, as it allows you to experience firsthand how the spinal cord stimulator may alleviate your pain. It’s a collaborative effort between you and your surgeon to determine whether this treatment option is suitable for your specific pain condition. If the trial is successful and both you and your doctor agree, the next step involves the surgical implantation of the permanent SCS device.
What Does Permanent Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery Involve?
Most permanent spinal cord stimulator implantations are done under local anesthesia. You will be awake to provide real-time feedback to your surgeon regarding the placement of the leads. Your surgeon will make small incisions over the targeted area of your spine and place the leads with electrodes near your spinal cord. The exact placement depends on your pain location and the results of the trial period.
A pulse generator, which is the main device that produces electrical impulses, is typically implanted under the skin in the buttock, abdomen, or upper chest area. Your surgeon will create a small pocket for the pulse generator and connect it to the leads.
Once the leads and pulse generator are in place, the surgical team will test the system to ensure it’s working correctly. You’ll provide feedback about the sensation you feel, which helps your surgeon adjust the settings for optimal pain relief. After testing and adjustments, your surgeon will close the incisions with stitches or adhesive strips. Dressings will be applied to the surgical sites.
What is Life Like After Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery?
Most of your everyday activities can be resumed after your permanent spinal cord stimulator surgery. The stimulator may even provide alternatives to lifestyle choices that were previously limited due to pain.
Your implant will be unaffected by devices like microwaves, cell phones, or security doors. Be sure to inform other healthcare professionals, such as chiropractors and massage therapists, about your implant before any procedure. We advise you to carry your implant ID with you, as it can be detected by airport security technology. For a hassle-free experience at the airport, consider deactivating your device before undergoing airport screening.
Top Quality Care at Gottlieb Spine
When your chronic back pain has not responded to treatment and is impacting your quality of life, consider spinal cord stimulation therapy. At Gottlieb Spine, we specialize in these types of innovative procedures to help you find relief from your pain and back to optimal health. Schedule a consultation today to find out if you’re a candidate.SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION