Questions & Answers about Spinal Cord Stimulation
If dealing with chronic pain and would prefer to use non-pharmaceutical drug options, Spinal Cord Stimulation may be an option. Naturally, there are going to be plenty of questions. Before visiting the doctor, learn about this safe procedure that may have a positive impact.
What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Spinal Cord Stimulation is delivered from a small battery operated generator object that is placed under the skin. This small device safely sends electrical pulses by way of electrodes through the nerves around the spine, helping to block pain signals from reaching the brain.
Will SCS Cure my Problem?
No, SCS will not "cure” the underlying issue of the pain. Spinal cord nerve stimulation will help block the pain signals from reaching the brain when the device is activated. It is important to consult with the doctor about the central issue causing the pain.
Is Spinal Cord Stimulation Safe?
Yes. SCS is an FDA-approved form of therapy that is backed by proven research and results.
How Can I Be Sure SCS Will Work for Me?
This is one of the few procedures that a person can "try before you buy". Doctors first have individuals undergo a short “trial period” with the device where symptoms and quality of life are evaluated. The generator that creates the electrical pulses is worn on a belt on the exterior of the individual's body. The trial period lasts up to a week to determine if SCS provides the sought after relief.
How Long Does the Surgery Take?
SCS involves a minimally invasive surgery. On average, the minimally invasive procedure can take up to 2 hours
Is the Procedure Reversible?
Yes, the implant can be removed at any time.
Will Insurance Cover SCS?
In most cases, SCS is covered by insurance. It is important to call and check with the insurance company before electing to have the surgery.
What are the Risks Associated with SCS?
The most common hardware issue is the migration of leads which fail to provide the electrical current to the correct area. Biological complications include infection and pain over the implant site. Hardware complications are more common than biological complications, though generally SCS is a safe and reversible therapy.
Who is NOT an Ideal Candidate?
People using blood thinners or individuals with a current infection are not ideal candidates. Patients who do not have chronic pain (pain that lasts 6 months or more) do not qualify as having a need for the implant.
Who is an ideal candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation?
If coping with chronic pain due to an injury, surgery, or medical condition, they may be an ideal candidate. The doctor will be able to determine whether a person may benefit from SCS. Make an appointment with the doctor or pain management specialist to receive further information and to see if SCS is the right option.