Located on this page you will find all the information you need to make an informed decision and help you through the process of a spinal cord stimulator trial.
If you require more information about this procedure we can facilitate a meet and greet with one of the clinical representative from the stimulator company. There is also a resource on the web for a patient ambassador to contact you to answer questions and give first hand experience.
To give you a better idea of what this procedure may include the video below is a complete trial from start to finish.
You will be referred for a psychiatric evaluation, which is required by your insurance prior to your procedure. You will need to schedule this appointment yourself. We have two physicians that we work with on a normal basis, click the link here for this physician information.
You will need to call to schedule that appointment. This is a requirement put in place by most insurance companies to be able to obtain prior authorization for the trial procedure.
Upon completion of the psychological evaluation, our office will notify your insurance company and obtain benefit, eligibility information, and precertification as required.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal Cord Stimulation Overview
A spinal cord stimulator is a device used to exert pulsed electrical signals to the spinal cord to control chronic pain. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS), in the simplest form, consists of stimulating electrodes, implanted in the epidural space, an electrical pulse generator, implanted in the lower abdominal area or gluteal region, conducting wires connecting the electrodes to the generator, and the generator remote control. SCS has notable analgesic properties and, at the present, is used mostly in the treatment of chronic neuropathic or radicular type pain pathologies.
In preparation for determining appropriateness for the implant, patients undergo a stimulation trial, which usually requires only a short, minimally invasive outpatient procedure. The procedure is often performed at a hospital or at a same day surgery center.
During the procedure, one or more leads are placed in the epidural space over the spinal cord. The lead(s) is inserted using a small needle or through a small incision. The exact placement of the lead(s) depends upon the location of your pain.
When the lead(s) is positioned in the best location, it is connected to an external device and activated. This activation generates low- intensity electrical impulses that will be programmed to replace your areas of intense pain with a more pleasant sensation known as paresthesia.
The trial implantation can be performed under light sedation or under general anesthesia. For many patients, all that is needed is a local anesthetic to numb the area where the lead(s) is inserted. This allows you to be awake to answer questions when the trial stimulator is activated to help the physician determine how well the stimulator covers your pain pattern. Be honest with your physician, because this is the best time to change the position of lead(s) if needed.
When it is determined that the lead(s) will provide adequate stimulation in the areas that are normally painful, the incision is closed and a dressing is applied to cover the incision and the external part of the lead.
Your physician determines the length of the trial period; it may last only a few minutes in the operating room, or you may try the system for several days. A longer trial may allow you to test how well the spinal cord stimulator is able to respond to the different types of pain you experience throughout the day and with different activities; however there may be an increased risk of infection for trials lasting more than five days. A shorter trial can be appropriate if your response is immediate and pain relief is dramatic, or long trials are contraindicated.
Please contact our office directly if you would like additional information. Additional information is available on the manufacturer website. Each site is available by click on the icons below.