Spinal Cord Stimulation & Pain Management
Azalea Orthopedics utilizes interventional pain management to alleviate pain symptoms in patients who experience chronic pain. For patients who suffer from severe and long-term pain in the back, arms, or legs, spinal cord stimulation could be an effective treatment. Our orthopedics team evaluates each individual patient to determine the best course of action for their condition and their pain symptoms. Based on these evaluations, we may decide that a spinal cord procedure is right for you.
What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation uses electrical currents to block and intercept pain signals from the brain to a different area of the body. A small wire, also known as a lead, is placed on the back of the nerves in the spinal cord and will deliver stimulation to block chronic pain. This procedure is typically used for patients who suffer from chronic pain in their arms, legs, and back. Depending on your condition, your orthopedic physician may recommend a specific type of stimulation. Some stimulations can be felt as a tingling sensation and others cannot be felt at all.
The Ideal Patient for the Procedure
The ideal candidate for spinal cord stimulation may suffer from the following:
- Chronic leg (sciatica) or arm pain – ongoing pain caused by spinal stenosis, arthritis, or a damaged nerve.
- Failed back surgery syndrome – the failure of one or more surgeries to alleviate leg or arm pain.
- Complex regional pain syndrome – a nervous system disorder in which patients experience persistent and chronic pain in the hands and feet.
- Arachnoiditis – painful inflammation of the protective layers of the spinal nerves.
- Other – stump pain, angina, peripheral vascular disease, multiple sclerosis, or a spinal cord injury.
Additionally, an orthopedic physician may recommend the procedure if all other medications and treatments have failed for your particular condition.
Spinal Cord Stimulation Procedure
Prior to the wire being placed on the back of the spinal nerves, a test trial is administered to understand if the stimulator significantly reduces your pain. The goal of the test trial is to decrease your pain by 50-75%. However, if a small reduction helps you with your day-to-day functions, your physician may deem the procedure necessary. If the test trial is successful and your pain is greatly reduced, you can be scheduled for surgery.
The surgical procedure is an outpatient procedure. Typically, the entire surgery takes about 1.5-2 hours and then you can go home after. The procedure will roughly follow these steps:
- You will be placed on your stomach and given relaxation medication.
- The permanent leads will be placed in the epidural space behind the spinal nerves.
- Test stimulation may be performed depending on the type of system being implanted.
- When the leads are in place, you will be put to sleep.
- A 4-6 inch incision will be made below the waistline at the buttocks and the surgeon will create a pocket for the battery. The battery will be placed between the skin and the muscle layers.
- The wires will be connected to the battery and tested.
- Once the system is determined to work properly, the incision will be closed.
Your orthopedic doctor will discuss the entire procedure at length with you – what will happen during the test trial, the actual surgery, and postoperative information. If you have any questions, please ask your orthopedics team.
Contact Azalea Orthopedics for Spinal Cord Stimulation Today!
If you believe you could be a candidate for spinal cord stimulation, please request an appointment with Azalea Orthopedics. Our physicians will evaluate your condition and determine if this procedure is right for you. We look forward to alleviating your pain!