Spinal Cord Stimulation


Spinal cord stimulation (also called 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. SCS candidates include people who suffer from chronic neuropathic pain and for whom conservative treatments have failed and no surgical solution can be offered.

Trial Implantation

First, the placement site is anesthetized. One or more insulated wire leads are then inserted through an epidural needle or through a small incision into the space surrounding the spinal cord, called the epidural space.

Find the Right Location

Electrodes at the end of the lead produce electrical pulses that stimulate the nerves, blocking pain signals. The patient gives feedback to help the physician determine where to place the stimulators to best block their pain. The leads are connected to an external trial stimulator, which will be used for approximately one week to determine if SCS will help the patient.

Determine Effectiveness

If the patient and physician determine that the amount of pain relief is acceptable, the system may be permanently implanted. At the end of the trial implantation, the leads are removed.

Permanent Implantation

The permanent implantation may be performed while the patient is under sedation or general anesthesia. First, one or more permanent leads are inserted through an epidural needle or a small incision into the predetermined location in the epidural space.

Generator Implantation

Next, a small incision is created, and the implantable pulse generator (IPG) battery is positioned beneath the skin. It is most often implanted in the buttocks or the abdomen. The leads are then connected to the IPG battery.

End of Procedure

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

After SCS Implantation

After surgery, patients may experience discomfort and swelling at the incision sites for several days.

Pain Relief in Illinois

If you are experiencing chronic pain and are unable to find relief, Illinois Bone & Joint Institute will be happy to help. We offer services such as spinal cord stimulation to help combat chronic back, arm, and leg pain, and our experienced staff of physicians and surgeons would love to work with you on a treatment plan to relieve your pain. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you tackle the pain that is interfering with your daily life.

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