Spinal cord stimulator are implanted to eliminate pain in the lower back and sciatic nerve. It uses electrical impulses to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. Usually Spinal cord stimulator are used for patients that haven’t responded to conservative treatment and surgery. Using a local anesthetic the physician numbs the local area and makes a small incision. Then one or more small electrodes are placed near the spinal cord which prevents pain signals from a needle through a small incision near the spinal cord physician places one or more electrodes, which prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. Patient helps doctor to determine, where the electrodes have to be placed, by feeling where the stimulation blocks pain.
The electrodes are connected to temporary spinal cord stimulator, which will be used for several days to determine if spinal cord stimulator helps the patient. If during the approbation period pain reduces by 50%, a permanent system may be placed. Second procedure is usually carried out under general anesthesia. Temporary electrodes are removed and through a needle or incision permanent electrodes are placed. Receiver is implanted subcutaneously in the breech or abdominal cavity. Power supply for the implant may be internal (impulse generator) or external (transmitter or antenna). Electrical impulses of the implant are controlled with an external device, which lets patient to turn the system on or off and change intensity, frequency and length of impulses.
After implantation the patient may feel moderate discomfort and swelling in the incision site for several days. With time electrodes may move or be damaged by intense using and may need replacement.
SPINAL CORD STIMULATOR (SCS)/IMPLANT SIDE EFFECTS
Possible side-effects are comparable with side-effects of a simple injection: patient may have allergic reactions, bacterial infection or bleeding, which occurs rarely.
It is very important that the patient inform the physician about pregnancy or if he/she is taking blood thinning medication.