Spinal Cord Stimulation (Boston Scientific)

Overview

Spinal cord stimulation (also called SCS) uses electrical impulses to relieve chronic back and legs pain. Electrical pulses are believed to prevent pain signals from being received by the brain. SCS candidates include people who suffer from neuropathic pain and for whom conservative treatments have failed.


Trial Implantation

The injection site is anesthetized. One or more insulated wire leads are inserted through an epidural needle or a small incision into the space surrounding the spinal cord, called the epidural space.


Find the Right Location

Electrodes at the end of the leads produce electrical pulses that stimulate the nerves, blocking pain signals. The patient gives feedback to help the physician determine where to place the stimulators to best block the patient's pain. The leads are connected to an external trial stimulator, which will be used for approximately one week to determine if SCS will help the patient.


Determine Effectiveness

The trial typically lasts around seven days. If the patient and physician determine that the amount of pain relief is acceptable, the system may be permanently implanted. At the end of the trial implantation, the leads are removed.


Permanent Implantation

The permanent implantation may be performed while the patient is under sedation or general anesthesia. First, one or more permanent leads are inserted through an epidural needle or small incision into the predetermined location in the epidural space.


Battery Implantation

Next, a small incision is created, and the implantable pulse generator (IPG) battery is positioned beneath the skin. It is most often implanted in the buttocks or abdomen. The leads are then connected to the IPG battery.


End of Procedure

The implant's electrical pulses are programmed with a wireless remote. The remote can be held comfortably in front of the body up to 18 inches away from the implant, allowing the patient to turn the system on or off, adjust the stimulation power level and switch between different programs.