Spinal Cord Stimulation Procedure
- Posted on: Nov 15 2018
Chronic neck and back pain can take over a person’s life. Every movement can involve pain. Pain relief methods, from conservative options all the way to decompression surgery, may not always be successful. For patients who have tried other options, including surgery, electrical spinal cord stimulation with Dr. Trujillo could be the next step.
What is spinal cord stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation involves the implantation of electrical wires and a generator in the epidural space surrounding the spinal column. Once in place, the generator sends mild electric pulses to the wire leads. These impulses can modify or block pain message sent to the brain by the nerves.
Spinal cord stimulation with Dr. Trujillo can be an effective solution for patients who still have chronic back or neck pain despite having tried various other treatments.
What conditions can spinal cord stimulation help?
Spinal cord stimulation is often used to treat a condition known as “failed back surgery syndrome.” This refers to patients who have had one or more surgical procedures to address their pain, yet still continue to experience the pain. It may also be effective for patients with chronic back or neck pain, or for patients with conditions such as arachnoiditis, complex regional pain syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, and refractory angina.
While spinal cord stimulation usually doesn’t completely relieve the pain, it significantly reduces pain. This allows the patient to usually reduce or stop taking opioid pain medications.
How is this procedure done?
Patients usually opt to “demo” this system before fully implanting it. For this, Dr. Trujillo inserts the wires (also called leads), but not the transmitter/generator. This is worn outside the body during the trial period. To implant the leads, Dr. Trujillo inserts a hollow needle into the epidural space and then passes the leads through those tiny punctures. The leads are placed at the corresponding areas where pain is emanating. They are then connected to the external neurostimulator that is worn on a belt. These trials usually last for one week.
The full implantation is similar. First the permanent leads are inserted, except this time they are fully inserted into the body cavity. The generator is then implanted through a small incision. Generators are usually about the size of a stopwatch, and they can be placed in the abdomen, upper buttocks, or upper chest, depending on patient preference. The wires are then tunneled through the body and connected to the generator. Patients then receive a remote controller to initiate the stimulation and adjust it as needed. These devices usually last from 10-25 years, so this is a long-term solution.
Are you at your wit’s end with chronic back or neck pain? Call us at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, (928) 532-1605, to schedule an appointment.