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Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial

A modern minimally-invasive therapy for chronic pain is spinal cord stimulation (SCS). A spinal cord stimulator is a device that delivers electrical pulses to the spinal cord, interrupting the transmission of pain signals before they are able to reach the brain. Sometimes this technology is described as a heart pacemaker for the spine. Studies have shown that SCS is able to provide long-term relief for both back and leg pain.

Before committing to the permanent implant in which the device is surgically placed under the skin, patients are encouraged to undergo a temporary trial that may last up to a week. Patients first come into the office for a consultation. If they are a good candidate for SCS, the procedure will be scheduled at an outpatient surgery center. A representative from device manufacturer will be present to discuss the technology with you. The device is worn under the clothes or on a belt. This device is connected to thin, flexible wires that are placed near the spine. 

Throughout the week, the representative and our office will be in touch with the patient, continuously checking in. At the end of the trial, the patient will return to the office to discuss implanting the stimulator permanently and to remove the trial leads. If the trial is successful, the patient will be referred to a neurosurgeon to implant the SCS permanently.

What to expect:

  • The procedure will be performed in an operation room with conscious sedation.

  • Antibiotics will be taken throughout the duration of the trial.

  • The lead insertion site must remain clean and dry throughout the duration of the trial.
  • The SCS may take several days to begin to reduce your pain.
  • After the procedure, patients will take the rest of the day off.
  • You will be able to resume normal daily activities the next day.
  • You will be asked to refrain from eating or drinking for the six hours leading up to your procedure.
  • A driver will need to take you home after the procedure.