If you’re undergoing treatment for intractable chronic pain and not getting significant relief from your current therapies, a spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is an option to consider. Find out whether you’re a good candidate for the implant process by discussing the procedure with Jonathan Gentile, MD, of Indiana Spine Group, which has locations in Carmel, Kokomo, and Indianapolis, Indiana. Dr. Gentile is a highly qualified pain medicine specialist with extensive experience carrying out spinal cord stimulator implantations. To schedule a consultation, call the office, or book online today.
A spinal cord stimulator is a device that relieves chronic pain by acting on the nerves in the spinal cord. The stimulator sends out electrical impulses that help reduce chronic pain in the back, legs, and arms.
Dr. Gentile implants the spinal cord stimulator under your skin, and you manage the level of stimulation using a handheld controller. He has experienced great success using newer SCS systems from Medtronic, Abbott, and Boston Scientific to treat low back pain.
Clinical trials show that the electrical pulses produced by a spinal cord stimulator prevent your brain from receiving pain signals.
Spinal cord stimulation is an option for patients who don’t find relief from chronic pain using more conservative approaches and is particularly useful for treating neuropathic pain.
Implanting the spinal cord stimulator involves surgery, so if you’re a suitable candidate, you undergo trial implantation first to make sure the technology will provide an effective solution for your pain.
When you visit Indiana Spine Group for your trial implantation, you first have an anesthetic to numb your back. Dr. Gentile then inserts wire leads into your back, into the epidural space surrounding your spinal cord.
The leads have electrodes on the end that produce electrical pulses. To make sure the electrodes are in exactly the right position, Dr. Gentile asks you to provide feedback during the placement process.
The leads connect to the external trial stimulator, which you use for five to seven days to assess its effectiveness in managing your chronic pain.
If the trial spinal cord stimulator implantation is a success, you can then have a permanent implant.
For the permanent implantation, you have a general anesthetic or IV sedation. Dr. Gentile inserts the permanent leads into the position that proved effective during your trial, then makes another small incision in your buttocks or abdomen.
This is where the implantable pulse generator (IPG) battery goes, connected to the leads.
Once the IPG and the leads are in place, Dr. Gentile programs the implant’s electrical pulses using an external wireless programmer. When you go home, you then use the programmer to operate the spinal cord stimulator and set it to the most effective level.
Spinal cord stimulator implant surgery is minimally invasive, using only small incisions, but you may still feel sore and experience swelling at the operation site. However, any discomfort should subside quickly.
If your chronic pain condition doesn’t respond to other treatment approaches, a spinal cord stimulator could help. Find out more by calling Indiana Spine Group or booking an appointment online today.