At Spine Center of Southeast Georgia, we offer spinal cord stimulation (SCS) to block pain signals. This is one of the most common implanted neurostimulation pain treatments in the world and treats many sources of pain. Our spinal cord stimulation doctors proudly welcome patients from Brunswick, Kingsland, and surrounding Georgia communities.
What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation is an implantable pain treatment that works by blocking pain signals through continuous low voltage electrical currents to the spinal cord. For the management of pain syndromes, spinal cord stimulation is the world’s leading implantable neurostimulation technology that’s widely accepted and approved by the FDA to treat chronic back, leg, and arm pain.
There are three primary types of spinal cord stimulation devices:
- Rechargeable systems are the latest form of SNS device and last the longest. The patient must recharge the power source, however.
- Conventional systems don’t require much maintenance or care, but minor surgery is needed when the power source fails.
- Radiofrequency systems work by delivering long-term pain therapy with the highest possible level of output. These devices are used for multi-extremity or extreme pain.
What Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Treat?
Spinal cord stimulation delivers mild, electrical stimulation to nerves along the spinal column. First used to treat pain in the late 1960s, by the 1980s the treatment entered routine use and has since been used to treat chronic pain as a result of nerve damage in the arms, legs, or trunk. You may be a candidate for SNS therapy if your pain does not respond to conventional treatment and you do not have a pacemaker.
How is a Spinal Cord Stimulation Treatment Performed?
After it’s been determined that you are a suitable candidate for spinal cord stimulation following a trial procedure, the permanent system may then be implanted. Despite being called permanent, however, the procedure is reversible. Treatment can be discontinued at any time, and the implanted parts can be turned off or removed.
Prior to undergoing the procedure, you will receive a light sedative. Any leads related to the temporarily implanted trial SCS monitor will be removed, and if replacement leads are to be placed under the skin, you will be administered a local anesthetic while they are placed. The full system implantation is performed under general anesthesia. The leads are inserted in the epidural space above the spinal cord either through a small incision or using a small needle. The exact location of these leads will depend on the specificity of your pain. The generator is usually implanted in the abdominal or buttock area. The physician and the patient may, however, determine other more comfortable areas in which to place it.
As soon as the generator and leads are all in place, connected, and running, the incision will be closed and a dressing will be applied. The majority of patients can expect to go home on the same day, but an overnight stay is sometimes necessary.
Following the procedure, any and all bending, lifting, stretching, and twisting should be avoided; however light exercise such as walking can be beneficial to help build strength and relieve pain.
How Long Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Last?
At least one study found an estimated 60% of patients receiving spinal cord stimulation treatment had experienced a reduction in pain symptoms when surveyed one to two years after the procedure. While the exact mechanisms of the actions of SCS are not fully understood at this time, evidence such as this shows that the treatment is beneficial to several pain syndromes, and with fairly consistent results.
While no pain treatment will work for everyone, spinal cord stimulation in Brunswick has a long and reliable history, even in the treatment of complex pain involving multiple extremities. At the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia, we welcome patients from Kingsland and Brunswick interested in learning more about SCS treatment. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to find out if SCS can help with your chronic pain.