Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants
Indianapolis’ Center for Pain Management uses spinal cord stimulation and spinal cord implants as pain management treatment options to relieve chronic back pain. Spinal cord stimulator implants (SCS) are often effective for people with failed back surgery syndrome or post laminectomy syndrome. Often referred to as a “pacemaker for pain”, spinal cord implants look and work a lot like cardiac pacemakers.
How it works: A spinal cord stimulator system generates mild electrical pulses and sends them to your spinal cord via implanted leads that are attached to the generator, which is normally implanted just above the buttocks. The electrical pulses, when received by the spinal cord, replace the feeling of pain with a tingling or massaging sensation, thus reducing or eliminating the patient’s pain. The patient can control the level of stimulation using any of the multiple custom programs that he or she sets up with the physician. Patients can have a stimulation program for when they are working, standing, sitting, sleeping, etc., based on their levels of pain during these normal activities.
Patients generally undergo a trial with a system to determine whether or not it is right for them. These trials usually last one week and utilize an external power source. If the patient receives 50% or better relief from their pain, then a “permanent” SCS system is recommended and usually implanted.