Spinal cord stimulation is a great option for patients who have had inadequate relief with other modalities. Spinal-cord stimulation does not utilize any medication, which makes it a particularly appealing option for those suffering from side effects.
Spinal-cord stimulation involves the placement of electrodes around the spine in a minimally invasive fashion. These send low levels of electricity directly into the spinal cord, which reduces the pain signals that are sent to the brain.
This procedure is done in two stages.
The first stage is temporary and done in-office. Dr. Gilthorpe carefully places leads (very thin wires) into the spine, which are connected to the stimulator, a small device. The device is taped to the patient's body for one week, while he or she determines its effectiveness. If the patient finds that the neurostimulation has provided least 50% pain relief, then a permanent implant is scheduled at a nearby hospital or ambulatory surgery center, ASC.
The second step is the permanent implantation of the small device inside the lower back. The outpatient surgery typically takes roughly an hour, then the patient goes home for recovery. If the patient requires changes to the signal frequency, he or she can come into the office for adjustments. Other than that, these devices can typically last several years before needing any sort of replacement.