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Is Spinal Cord Stimulation the Answer?

Is Spinal Cord Stimulation the Answer?

By Spine Team Texas on Wednesday, January 23, 2019

One of Spine Team Texas’ goals is to treat our patient’s conditions and pain conservatively. Approximately 90% of Spine Team Texas patients are treated nonsurgically. However, if it is determined that surgery is needed, we use minimally invasive surgery techniques that allow for little to no interruption to your day-to-day lifestyle. One option may be Spinal Cord Stimulation.

What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) uses electrical impulses to relieve chronic pain of the back, arms, and legs. It is believed that electrical pulses prevent pain signals from being received by the brain. The procedure is not a cure-all but can offer a degree of relief to help you become more active, enjoy better sleep and possibly reduce your pain medications.

Who are Candidates for Spinal Cord Stimulation?
SCS is recommended when conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medications, and injections have not provided relief, when surgery is not likely to help, or when surgery has failed. People who suffer from neuropathic pain—often described as shooting or burning pain, tingling, or numbness as a result of nerve issues—are candidates for the procedure. Our physicians can make a full evaluation to determine if you are a candidate.

What is the Procedure?
Unlike most procedures, SCS is reversible and begins with a trial implementation. The implant site is anesthetized and wire leads are inserted through an epidural needle or through a small incision into the space around the spinal cord.

Electrodes at the end of the lead produce electrical pulses that stimulate the nerves, blocking pain signals. The patient gives feedback to the physician to determine the best placement to block the patient’s pain.

The leads are connected to an external trial stimulator, which is used for approximately one week to determine if it helps the patient. If the patient and physician determine that the amount of pain relief is acceptable, the system may be permanently implanted.

The implant pulses are programmed with an external wireless programmer that the patient can use to turn the system on or off, adjust the stimulation power level and switch between different programs.

As a minimally invasive procedure, this approach:

  • Lowers the risk of complications
  • Provides a shorter surgery duration
  • Provides quicker recovery
  • Develops less visible scarring

We Can Help!
Several of our Spine Team Texas’ physicians specialize in the SCS procedure. If you are currently experiencing back pain, learn more about Spinal Cord Stimulation and our other minimally invasive surgery techniques or request an appointment with us. We’ll help you determine if SCS is the answer for you.