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Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants

The ‘Pacemaker for Pain’

Some types of chronic back pain and nerve pain are difficult to treat with conventional methods. For patients who have chronic pain due to post laminectomy syndrome or sciatica (lumbar radiculopathy), American Pain Consortium in Indianapolis often recommends a spinal cord stimulator implant (SCS).

The SCS consists of wires (called “leads”) that are inserted into the space around the spinal column and attach to a small implanted battery. The battery generates electrical pulses that travel along the leads and create a tingling sensation that replaces or minimizes pain signals.

What To Expect

Patients who are candidates for spinal cord stimulator implants must first meet with our staff psychologist for an evaluation. Our goal is to make sure patients are mentally and emotionally prepared for this outpatient procedure.

Patients may experience mild discomfort and swelling at the incision site for a few days and must be able to follow their physician’s orders regarding rest and rehabilitation. Read our blog about one patient’s spinal cord stimulator procedure recovery.

About SCS Implants

The initial SCS procedure takes about an hour. Patients receive temporary leads and an external battery – if after one week, they feel the SCS is effective at relieving their pain, they return to our office for the implantation of permanent leads and the internal battery, which is about the size of a watch battery. Patients receive an external wireless controller that lets them adjust the intensity and timing of electrical pulses and access pre-programmed settings.

An Alternative to Repeat Back Surgery

Back surgery that involves removing or restructuring any part of the spine is risky and often ineffective, and the recovery period may be several months. A spinal cord stimulator implant is a less invasive means of alleviating back and nerve pain, and it allows patients to customize their pain management.

Advantages of Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants

Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) Implants offer several advantages in managing chronic back and nerve pain:

  • Pain Relief: SCS implants provide effective pain relief for conditions like failed back surgery syndrome or neuropathic pain, often reducing the need for opioids.

  • Non-Invasive: Compared to surgical interventions, SCS implants are minimally invasive, involving the placement of electrodes near the spinal cord to modulate pain signals.

  • Adjustable Pain Control: The intensity and frequency of stimulation can be adjusted, allowing for personalized pain control tailored to the patient's needs.

  • Improved Functionality: By reducing pain, SCS implants can enhance physical function and quality of life, enabling patients to engage in daily activities more comfortably.

  • Reduced Medication Dependency: SCS can lead to a decrease in the reliance on pain medications, minimizing potential side effects and dependency issues.

  • Trial Period: Before permanent implantation, patients undergo a trial period where the device is temporarily placed. This allows them to assess the effectiveness of the therapy before making a long-term commitment.

  • Versatility: SCS is versatile and can be used for various pain conditions, providing relief for a range of neuropathic and musculoskeletal issues.

  • Reversible: If needed, the SCS implant can be removed, offering a reversible option for pain management.

While SCS implants offer significant advantages, their suitability depends on individual factors. A consultation with our pain management specialists are essential to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

If traditional methods have failed to alleviate your chronic pain, please contact American Pain Consortium to schedule a consultation.


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