Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is a very effective means of controlling nerve-related pain. SCS improves functional ability and quality of life. It may be used as an alternative for pain relief in patients for whom surgery is not recommended or when medications are ineffective.
How does it work? SCS uses a thin cable, or lead, to deliver low-level electrical impulses to the spinal cord. These impulses interfere with the signaling of pain between the spinal cord and the brain. The lead is placed into the epidural space around the spinal cord and is then attached to a generator, which is controlled with a hand-held programmer.
What are the benefits? SCS is used for treatment of chronic or intractable pain. It may reduce the need for medications. We perform it first as a trial (typically 5 – 7 days), and then move to more permanent placement if the patient so chooses. SCS surgery is less invasive than many surgical options.
Who will benefit? For what conditions can SCS be used?
- Radiculopathy – Pinched nerves or sciatica which cannot be corrected surgically.
- Failed Back Surgery Syndrome – Patients who have had correction of an anatomical problem through surgery but continue to have significant pain.
- Epidural Fibrosis – The development of scar tissue which can compress the nerves as they exit the spine.
- Arachnoiditis – Inflammation of the tissue covering the nerve
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) – The body exhibits an exaggerated response to an injury and the pain response may be perpetuated by the nervous system itself.
- Painful Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy