Spinal Cord Stimulation, Southlake, TX, the nerves in the body transfer pain signals from different parts of the body to the brain. When any parts of your body get injured or you have any medical condition, the nerves around the area transfer pain signals to your brain. When the pain signals get to your brain, you will start feeling pains. The transfer of pain signals to the brain happens in fractions of seconds.
What is Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation is a therapy or procedure used to mask pain signals before they get to the brain. It involves the implantation of a small device that delivers electrical pulses to the spinal cord. This device uses a low-frequency current to replace the pain sensation being transferred to the brain with a mild tingling soothing feeling.
The aim of this therapy is to reduce pain by up to 50-70%. It doesn’t eliminate the source of the pain but it interferes with the pain signals to the brain. It changes the way the brain perceives the pain signals.
A trial stimulation is first performed to determine if the patient feels pain relief. This is because not everyone feels pain relief from this therapy. Some patients may even find the sensation very unpleasant. If the patient feels pain relief from the trial stimulation, the device is then implanted permanently but if the patient doesn’t feel pain relief, the therapy will not be continued.
Benefits of Spinal cord stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation helps to reduce pain by interfering with pain signals. It helps people with chronic pain reduce pain. It also prevents them from using opioids and other pain medications for a long period of time. It is a better treatment option for people with chronic back pain, leg, or arm pain.
Is spinal cord stimulation safe?
Spinal cord stimulation is generally considered a safe procedure. A trial stimulation is first performed to know if the patient is a good candidate for a permanent implantation. If the patient shows any adverse reactions or side effects to the treatment, it will be immediately discontinued.
How much does it cost to have a spinal cord stimulator?
The cost of a spinal cord stimulator varies depending on the provider and location. However, the average cost for initial implantation of a spinal cord stimulator is over $20,000. For example, the cost for Medicare patients is $32,882 while for Blue Cross Blue Shield patients is $57,896. Patients also need to undergo maintenance treatment which costs between $5,000 and $22,000.
What is the recovery time for a spinal cord stimulator?
The recovery time for spinal cord stimulation usually takes about one to two weeks. However, this varies from person to person depending on how well a patient keeps to the recommended recovery instructions.
How successful are spinal cord stimulators?
The success of spinal cord stimulation depends on how well the patient responds to the trial stimulation. The therapy is considered successful if a patient feels pain relief up to 50% or more.
Studies of spinal cord stimulation show good to excellent long-term pain relief in 50% to 80% of patients with chronic pain. A study reports that 24% of patients improved sufficiently after undergoing the treatment and were able to return to gainful employment or housework with only stimulation or occasional taking oral pain medications in addition to stimulation.
What kind of doctor does spinal cord stimulator?
The specialists that perform spinal cord stimulator are Neurosurgeons and doctors who specialize in pain management such as anesthesiologist or physiatrist.
Can you go swimming with a spinal cord stimulator?
No, you are not allowed to shower, bathe, or swim with a trial spinal cord stimulator device. You are not allowed to swim or immerse yourself in water until your sutures or incision is completely healed after having a permanent spinal cord stimulator implanted.
Is spinal cord stimulator surgery painful?
You will be given general anesthesia to make you feel unconscious and feel no pains during the procedure. After the procedure, the effect of the anesthesia will begin to wear off. Once the anesthesia wears off, you will begin to feel pain. Most patients feel pains for several days after the procedure.
How painful is a spinal cord stimulator implant?
The initial recovery period after undergoing a spinal cord stimulation implantation can be very painful. You may begin to feel pain relief after two to three weeks. You may feel total pain in six to eight weeks.
How long does the battery last in a spinal cord stimulator?
There are some stimulating devices with non-rechargeable batteries. However, stimulating devices with non-rechargeable batteries need to be surgically replaced every 2 to 5 years, depending on how frequently it is used. There are also rechargeable battery systems that may last for 8 to 10 years or longer. Remember to charge the system daily.
What are the risks of a spinal cord stimulator?
Just like any other invasive surgery, there are risks and complications that may occur during and after undergoing a spinal cord stimulation. These include:
- Epidural hemorrhage
- Spinal cord compression
- Battery failure and/or battery leakage
- Cerebrospinal fluid leak
- Persistent pain at the stimulator site
- A pocket of clear fluid at the implant site
- Lead migration
- Allergic response to implant materials
- Generator migration and/or local skin erosion
- Weakness, numbness, or pain below the level of implantation
- Breakage of the lead or extension wire
- Mechanical failure of the device
What is involved in a spinal cord stimulator trial?
During a spinal cord stimulator trial, the patient will be administered a local anesthetic to numb the skin and deeper tissues. A small incision will be made and X-ray guidance will be used to place the electrodes or stimulator in place. The electrodes will be placed temporarily. An external device will be used to generate electrical current to the electrodes.
If the patient feels pain relief as much as 50%, it means the treatment works and the patient is a good candidate for the treatment. A permanent stimulator will be placed. If the patient doesn’t feel any pain relief or find the results very uncomfortable, it means the treatment didn’t work for the patient. Hence, the patient is not a good candidate for the treatment.
What is a stimulator for back pain?
A spinal cord stimulator can be used to relieve back pain. It prevents the transmission of pain signals from your back to your brain by changing the way your brain perceives the pain signals. A stimulating device is implanted which delivers electrical impulses to your spinal cord. This device transmits low-frequency currents that interfere with pain signals to deliver a tingling soothing relief.