Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation or electroneuromodulation is a well-studied, long-standing technology. When conservative therapy fails, spinal cord stimulation can provide dramatic pain relief without additional medication. If you are a candidate for this therapy, your physician will provide you with a video to watch which will help you understand the technology. Arrangements will be made for you to see a psychologist so you can be cleared to have the procedure.
Once the decision has been made to proceed, an in-office trial will take place. One or two epidural leads are placed and connected to an external battery control device. You will know when the leads are in the correct position when you feel a tingling sensation in your area of pain. You will try the device at home for five to seven days prior to making a final decision regarding implantation.
If you and your physician decide to go ahead with implantation, you will be taken into the operating room and all components will be placed under your skin. After two weeks of recovery, your device will be fully operational, though the first three to six months will be a period of adjustment as scar tissue forms. This period of adjustment is normal and actually helps you to fully understand the capabilities of your new spinal cord stimulator.
Side effects of Spinal Cord Stimulation are rare and your physician will discuss them with you. You will be asked to sign a written consent prior to the procedure. Please make sure you fully understand the risks and benefits of any procedure prior to signing the consent form.
Spinal cord stimulation is a powerful method of pain control. Please contact our office if you have additional questions regarding this procedure.
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Side effects of Spinal Cord Stimulation
The complication rate for spinal cord stimulation is similar to other implantable devices and minor surgical procedures. The overall complication rate is less than 10%. More common complications include an infection requiring antibiotics, an infection requiring removal of the device, lead migration requiring reprogramming, and lead migration requiring surgical revision. Less common complications include bleeding, increased pain, kidney failure, bowel or bladder dysfunction, paralysis, and death. These less common side effects usually occur on patients taking strong anti-coagulants or blood thinners, those with a high fever or an active infection, or those with a severe allergy to intravenous contrast. Your physician should be notified if you are taking medications such as Coumadin, Plavix, Ticlid, Lovenox, Aggrenox, Insulin, or Metformin. Your physician should also be made aware of any allergies you have, especially if you are allergic to iodine or contrast. Notify your physician immediately if you have concerns about your condition after the procedure.
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