What is Electronic Spine Stimulation?
Electrical nerve stimulation uses electrical pulses that interfere with the nerve impulses. The nerve pulses create the sensation of pain. The electrical pulses help to ease the pain. There are two types of nerve stimulations: Peripheral Nerve Stimulation (PNS) and Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS).
The procedure is a two step process.
1. The first step is a trial run. In this first step, the doctor will insert a temporary electrode through the skin. The patient will be able to control the electrode to see if the stimulation works to ease the pain to a manageable level.
2. If the trial run succeeds, then your doctor will do the second step which is to implant the a stimulator permanently under your skin. The second step procedure implants the thin electrical wires with electrical leads near the spinal column. No incision is needed to implant the leads. There is a small incision to implant a tiny generator that is inserted into the buttock or the abdomen. The generator is programmable which means the patient can mange the currents to the spinal column. This procedure is done with the help of a local anesthetic and a sedative.
Once the procedure is done, the doctor and you will determine the best pulse setting. At home, most patients use the stimulator several times a day for an hour or two.
Our office does the trial part. We refer patients to other professionals to implant the stimulator permanently. To learn more about the actual implant of the spinal cord stimulator, please see our next blog which will be a guest blog by doctors who do the permanent stimulation.
Why Electronic Stimulation May be an Option
This procedure may be an option for people with severe chronic pain. It is done to treat existing pain (including low back pain, leg pain, and complex regional pain syndrome ) and also a diagnostic tool to determine if other problems exist including paraplegia, multiple sclerosis and intractable angina. Treatment success varies from patient to patient.
What Are the Risks?
As with most procedures there are risks. The risks associated with this procedure include scar tissue (fibrosis) around the electrode, pain, hardware failure, infection, spinal fluid leakage, headaches, bladder issues, and getting used to the stimulator. If you have an implanted stimulator, you can not have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) test.
Please Contact Us
If you have questions about Spinal Cord Stimulation Implants or any pain issues, please contact us at 215.741.4410. Our office is located near the Oxford Valley Mall.