Chronic pain suffers now have an option of pain relief without oral medication. Neurostimulation provides relief to targeted areas by disrupting pain signals that travel from the spinal cord to the brain. It provided relief to one or more areas. It is an implanted device (abdomen or back) that generates impulses through leads which are placed in the epidural space near the spine.
What to Expect With Spinal Cord Stimulation
After a thorough evaluation, you will undergo a trial stimulator to determine if a spinal cord stimulator is right for you. An external device is used, with leads placed internally. An advantage to the trial is to determine if your pain can be relieved before surgical implantation. If, at the end of the trial, your pain has been relieved, you can decide to pursue a permanent implant.
It is important to discuss any medications you are taking before your procedure You will be asked to hold your anticoagulation therapy a certain number of days before the procedure to reduce your risk of bleeding. You may also be asked to stop other medications prior to and after the procedure. You will be instructed on when you can resume your medications.
You may experience numbness after your procedure. You will also receive IV (intravenous) sedation. So, it is important that you have someone to drive you home. You can expect some generalized soreness afterwards. You will be discharged home a few hours after the procedure.
During The Procedure
You will be taken to a surgical area and given IV sedation. Your procedure will be done with x-ray imaging (fluoroscopy) for accuracy. Your skin will be cleaned with a disinfectant, and the area is numbed for better comfort. The physician will make a small surgical incision in your back and guide the leads/wires into the epidural space. The leads will attach to the spinal cord stimulator device, similar to the size of a pacemaker. The stimulator will begin working immediately. Your incision is closed with sutures. And, to prevent infection, a small pocket size device called a wound vac will be placed over your incision. This will be removed at your follow up visit.
After The Procedure
You can expect some soreness at the incision site. Your stimulator will be working when you wake up. You can expect to meet with a spinal cord stimulator representative immediately following your surgery to discuss any concerns you may have. You will receive complete instructions and expectations from your physician following the procedure, along with a follow up appointment.