Spinal Cord Stimulation

Now covered by Medicare and Insurance

What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is a minimally invasive procedure that sends low levels of electricity, from an implanted device, directly into the spinal cord to relieve pain.

How do Spinal Cord Stimulators work?

The spinal cord stimulator consists of thin wires (electrodes) and a small thin pacemaker like battery pack (generator). The electrodes are placed in the epidural space, which is located between the spinal cord and the vertebra. The generator is placed just under the skin near the buttocks or abdomen. When you feel pain, a remote control allows you to send electrical impulses that help relieve the pain sensation.
Chelation Therapy
Chelation Therapy

What Conditions do Spinal Cord Stimulation Treat?

Spinal Cord Stimulators are used to treat or manage many different types of chronic pain including:

  • Back pain (especially after a failed back surgery)
  • Injuries to the spinal cord
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Nerve related pain
  • Arachnoiditis (painful inflammation of the thin layer (arachnoid) that covers the brain and spinal cord
  • Pain after amputation
  • Visceral abdominal pain and perineal pain
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease

Who is a candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation? Those who: 

  • Have had non-surgical options fail to provide adequate pain relief
  • Do not have psychiatric problems that would interfere with the effectiveness of the treatment
  • Do not have bleeding problems, infections, or pregnant
  • Have had a positive response from the Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial

Watch this video!

Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial

At Stemedix, the Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial and implantation procedures are performed by a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist who has further specialized in Interventional Pain Management.

Before the Procedure

What is needed:

  • A complete a Medical History Form
  • Copies of all imaging studies related to your source of pain
  • Submit a current list of all medications/supplements that you are taking
  • Halt taking any blood-thinning medications/supplements before the procedure

The Trial Procedure

This outpatient procedure will take place in our medical clinic. You will be positioned on an x-ray table. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the treatment area. You will remain awake during the procedure in order to provide feedback to the physician for successful placement of the electrodes. A mild sedative may be given if needed. The procedures are performed by the physician using a fluoroscopy machine. The fluoroscope allows the physician to see the precise location to place the electrodes in the epidural space, which is located between the spinal cord and the vertebrae. The trial procedure only requires a small incision in your lower back to place the electrodes.The generator will be placed on the outside usually worn by you around your waist. You will be required to test the device for about a week to see if it relieves your pain. If your pain is reduced by at least 50%, the trial is considered to be successful and you will be scheduled to have the device implanted. If the trial is unsuccessful, the electrodes can easily be removed in our office without causing any damage to the spinal cord or nerves. The physician will move to potential other interventions available to help control your pain.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Implantation Procedure

The implantation procedure is performed much like the trial procedure except for the following:

  • The generator is placed just under the skin in the area of the buttocks through a small incision.
  • The trial electrodes are replaced and anchored with sutures to minimize movement.
After the electrodes and generator are properly placed, the physician will close the incisions with sutures.

After the Procedure

You will be monitored for a short time post-procedure. We ask that you come with a supportive friend or family member to help drive you home after the procedure. Many patients can walk immediately following the treatment. The following is what you may experience:
Experience Timeframe
Pain at the incision site Several days after the procedure
Removal of dressings over the incision site 3 days after the procedure
Incision healing 2-4 weeks after the procedure
Light activity level First 2 weeks after the procedure
Returning to work 1-2 weeks after the procedure
Driving (with the stimulator turned off) 1-2 weeks after the procedure

Risks/Complications

Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial and Implantation Procedures are considered safe with a minimal risk for complications. Complications that have been seen are:

  • Infection that may occur within the first 2-8 weeks after implantation
  • Bleeding
  • Device Migration of the electrodes moving from their original position. This may result in being less effective in relieving pain. If this occurs, a follow-up procedure would be indicated to readjust the electrodes.
  • Device Failure from mechanical injury to the device from a fall, etc.
  • Dural Puncture to the outer protective layer of the spinal cord/brain is inadvertently punctured and causes cerebrospinal fluid to leak out which may cause severe headaches.
  • Spinal cord trauma is extremely rare and is a result causing nerve injury and paralysis.

Living with a Spinal Cord Stimulator

Patients with an implanted Spinal Cord Stimulator generally experience a better quality of life and can do much more than they were able to before having the procedure. However, there are some precautions that you need to be mindful of:
  • CT Scans and X-rays – As long as the unit is powered “OFF,” these procedures are safe. It is always a good idea to inform the technician that you have got an implanted spinal cord stimulator.
  • MRIs – No. MRIs are not always compatible with Spinal Cord Stimulator Devices. Check with the physician or technician to see if the device model that you have is compatible first.
  • Airport Security – Your stimulator device will be detected while going through airport security. You may have to power “OFF” the device before going through. You will be provided with an identification card to present to airport security for this purpose.
  • Swimming – It is okay to swim with the implanted device. However, you can NOT get the temporary device wet. You will need to avoid showers or baths during the trial period. Sponge-bathing is okay.

Now covered by Medicare and Insurance

WordPress Image Lightbox
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Request Information Packet

We'll send your FREE information packet that outlines our entire personalized, stress-free stem cell treatment process!

Thanks for your interest!

Request Information Packet

We'll send your FREE information packet that outlines our entire personalized, stress-free stem cell treatment process!

Thanks for your interest!

Request Information Packet

We'll send your FREE information packet that outlines our entire personalized, stress-free stem cell treatment process!

Thanks for your interest!

Request Information Packet

We'll send your FREE information packet that outlines our entire personalized, stress-free stem cell treatment process!

Thanks for your interest!

Request Information Packet

We'll send your FREE information packet that outlines our entire personalized, stress-free stem cell treatment process!

Thanks for your interest!

Request Information Packet

We'll send your FREE information packet that outlines our entire personalized, stress-free stem cell treatment process!

Thanks for your interest!

Request Information Packet

We'll send your FREE information packet that outlines our entire personalized, stress-free stem cell treatment process!

Thanks for your interest!

Request Information Packet

We'll send your FREE information packet that outlines our entire personalized, stress-free stem cell treatment process!

Thanks for your interest!

Request Information Packet

We'll send your FREE information packet that outlines our entire personalized, stress-free stem cell treatment process!

Thanks for your interest!

Request Information Packet

We'll send your FREE information packet that outlines our entire personalized, stress-free stem cell treatment process!

Thanks for your interest!

Request Information Packet

We'll send your FREE information packet that outlines our entire personalized, stress-free stem cell treatment process!

Thanks for your interest!

Request Information Packet

We'll send your FREE information packet that outlines our entire personalized, stress-free stem cell treatment process!

Thanks for your interest!