Spinal cord stimulation is a pain management technique that blocks pain signals from reaching your brain, relieving discomfort. It involves using electric currents that your doctor attaches to your spinal cord. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the treatment to relieve chronic pain. Your doctor may recommend Livingston spinal cord stimulation if conservative methods have failed to provide relief from pain. Your doctor performs a trial before permanently implanting the spinal cord stimulation devices. You can use spinal cord stimulation along with medications. But the treatment helps decrease the use of pain drugs.
What happens during spinal cord stimulation trials?
The trial process is the first step in spinal cord stimulation treatment. It involves your doctor implanting a temporary device to test whether treatments work for you. Your surgeon makes a cut at your lower back to place the electrodes. You will wear a specific belt around your waist to hold the generator. Using a special form of x-ray known as fluoroscopy, your doctor keenly inserts the electrodes in the epidural space of your spine. The doctor places the electrodes on the targeted areas along your spine and may ask how you feel to ensure they are in the correct location.
After a week, your doctor will determine whether spinal cord stimulation suits you. Your doctor will term the trial process successful if it minimizes fifty percent of your pain. If unsuccessful, the surgeon will remove the devices. If your trial procedure is successful, your surgeon will permanently implant a spinal cord stimulation device.
What should you expect during permanent spinal cord stimulator placement?
Permanent spinal cord stimulator placement is an outpatient treatment. Spinal cord stimulation involves local anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable and not feel pain during the procedure. The surgeon makes an incision along your abdomen or buttock to hold the battery or generator. You will have another incision along your spine to allow the insertion of electrodes. Like in the trial process, your surgeon uses fluoroscopy to ensure the electrodes are placed in the right location, depending on your source of pain. The surgeon may use sutures when anchoring electrodes to reduce movement.
Once the electrodes and generator are in place and running, your surgeon will close the cuts. The entire spinal cord stimulation procedure takes about one or two hours. You go home the same day after the treatment after your anesthesia wears off.
What happens after spinal cord stimulation?
You may experience pain around the incision sites for several days after the spinal cord stimulation surgery. Avoid stretching and twisting, as this can pull out the incisions. You can perform light duties two weeks after surgery. Your doctor will tell you when to do strenuous activities. The results of spinal cord stimulation vary. Some people experience pain relief immediately after spinal cord stimulator placement, while others take a few or several days to have notable results.
Spinal cord stimulation involves your doctor placing low-electric currents along your spinal cord to help relieve chronic pain. Doctors use the treatment to alleviate chronic pain that does not improve with conservative techniques. Schedule an appointment at SamWell Institute for Pain Management for spinal cord stimulation to alleviate chronic pain.