Spinal Cord Stimulation Therapy
In spinal cord stimulation (SCS), mild electric currents applied to the spinal cord through small medical devices change pain signals. These mild electrical stimulations to the nerves modify nerve activity to minimize the sensation of pain reaching the brain. The device involves placing a lead with electrical contacts in the epidural space in the spine using fluoroscopic (X-Ray) guidance near the region that supplies nerves to the painful area. The procedure is a minimally invasive surgical technique. There is a trial period where the patient will try a temporary external system, and if pain is sufficiently reduced and function and independence increased, the patient returns to receive an implanted system.
Reasons to Consider Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal Cord Stimulation can help lessen chronic pain caused by the following:
- Chronic leg or arm pain caused by arthritis, spinal stenosis, or nerve damage
- Failed back surgery
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Painful inflammation and scarring of the protective lining of the spinal nerves
- Angina, peripheral vascular diseases, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injury
A patient may be a good candidate for the following reasons:
- Conservative therapies have failed
- Additional surgeries offer no benefit
- Patients attempting to get off pain medications
Typically, patients considered for SCS have been dealing with chronic pain for a prolonged period of time. Pain takes both a physical and mental toll on a person. A complete diagnosis both medically and psychologically are vital to determine if a patient is a good candidate for the procedure. Along with this step, the process will likely include learning better pain coping skills, a reduced dependency on habit forming medications, and learning to restore physical function.
Spinal Cord Stimulation is a 2-Step Process
The first step is the trial stage and usually lasts about seven days. While watching on a monitor, the doctor will guide a hollow needle into the epidural space above the spinal canal. Through this passageway, one or more thin leads are threaded, each carrying a number of small electrical contacts along the end. The leads are attached to a power supply that delivers a mild current. Once the position is chosen, the lead is secured in place.
After trying the therapy for about a week, a patient who has experienced a sufficient reduction in pain may choose to continue treatment with a permanent system. An implantable power source, around the size of a watch face is generally implanted under the skin – either in the upper buttock/back, upper chest wall, or abdominal area.
Spinal cord stimulation therapy is reversible. If a patient decides at any time to discontinue, the electrode wires and generator can all be removed.
Please call us today at (972) 596-1059 for more information or go online at www.tarponpa.com to further research options or fill out the online appointment form.