Spinal cord stimulation treatment uses electric impulses to prevent pain signals emitted at pain points from traveling to the brain. Your leading interventional pain specialist in Houston, William Yancey, MD, uses spinal cord stimulation to provide effective relief from chronic pain.
Understanding spinal cord stimulation
When traditional treatment therapies fail to provide pain relief, an implant device known as a Spinal Cord Stimulator(SCG) is used. The device works to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain by producing electrical impulses and sending them to your spinal cord masking pain sensations.
Conditions that benefit from spinal cord stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation can be used to relieve various types of chronic pain conditions, for example:
- Phantom limb pain
- Nerve pain
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Back pain
- Pain after surgery
Am I a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation is ideal if:
- You have first tried other pain relief therapies. If they failed to offer relief, then your care provider may recommend spinal cord stimulation.
- Your health care provider will first review your medical history to determine whether you have underlying medical conditions that would deter you from going through with the implantation.
- You have gone through a successful spinal cord stimulation trial.
What to expect during a spinal cord stimulation trial
Before permanently implanting the device, your care provider will first perform a trial stimulation to determine whether you are a candidate for the treatment. The trial is essential because the spinal cord stimulation procedure does not eliminate all the pain and offers various pain relief for every person. The test usually lasts about 4-7days. You will be asked to keep a record of your activities and pain level during the trial period.
What to expect during spinal cord stimulation surgery
Upon successful completion of your spinal cord stimulation trial, your health care provider will discuss the specifics of the surgical procedure in your next consultation.
Pre-surgical tests will be performed several days before surgery. You should notify your care provider of all the medications you are taking. Taking food and drinks hours before surgery is not recommended.
During the surgery;
- You lie on your stomach and are given light anesthesia.
- A small skin incision is made in the middle of your back where the electrical leads will be inserted and another incision made on your buttock to insert the pulse generator.
- Part of your bony arch is removed to create room for the leads to be inserted in your spinal canal.
- In the epidural space above the spinal cord, the leads that will deliver electrical currents to the nerves are placed.
- A test stimulation may be performed to ensure the leads are in the right place.
- A wire is then passed from the spine to the pulse generator implanted in the buttock.
- The incisions are then closed using sutures and a dressing is applied.
After surgery, your heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure are monitored. Your spinal cord generator device is also programmed before you are discharged.
To learn more about spinal cord stimulation, call Yancey Pain & Spine to schedule an appointment.