Ideal Candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation | Before/After procedure | Best doctor to do in Mansfield
A spinal cord stimulation therapy is a procedure whereby a spinal cord stimulator is used to block pain signals from getting to the brain.
When the spinal cord is fractured, irritated, injured or inflamed, the nerve fibers in the spinal cord carries the pain signals to the brain and the patient begins to feel the pain.
To help manage or reduce the pain, a stimulator is placed under the skin of the patient, electric pulses from the stimulator are sent to the spinal cord which blocks the pain signals from reaching the brain.
Some stimulators mask off the pain signal with a low-frequency current while some other stimulators use high-frequency current.
The stimulators with low-frequency current produce a mild tingling sensation known as paresthesia. The stimulators with high frequency do not produce any tingling sensation.
Spinal cord stimulation is used for chronic pain when pain relief medications are not producing significant pain relief.
What exactly does stimulation do?
The goal of spinal cord stimulation is to reduce pain by as much as 70%. It does not eliminate the pain source. This means when the stimulator is put off, you will start to feel pain again.
However, stimulation does not work for everyone and some people find the tingling sensation of the stimulator unpleasant.
Some people may not feel significant pain relief from the procedure. This is why a trial stimulation is first done to know if it works for an individual or not.
The trial stimulation lasts for about 4 to 7 days. If you feel pain relief, then you are fit to undergo a permanent stimulation
Who is an ideal candidate for the procedure?
Before undergoing the procedure, your doctor will review your medical history to know if you have undergone previous treatment or surgical operations. You will be examined to know if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure.
Typically, you may be an ideal candidate for spinal cord stimulation if:
- You have a successful spinal cord stimulation trial
- You do not have a medical condition that prevents you from undergoing implantation.
- Other conservative therapies have failed in providing pain relief
- The pain is caused by a correctable problem
- You do not want to undergo further surgical operations.
- You do not have any drug addiction or depression.
Before the procedure
Before undergoing the procedure, you may need to first undergo a blood test, x-ray or electrocardiogram. Your doctor will review your medical history and previous surgeries.
If you have any allergies or anesthesia reactions, inform your doctor. If you are on blood-thinning medication you need to stop taking them for several days before the procedure.
If you are on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, you also need to stop taking them.
If you smoke or drink alcohol, you need to stop for at least one week before the procedure and two weeks after the procedure.
You are not allowed to eat or drink anything the night before the procedure.
When coming to the clinic on the day of the procedure, wear appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes.
How is spinal cord stimulation procedure done?
On the commencement of the procedure, you will be made to lie down on your stomach on a procedure table.
You will be given light anesthesia that will make you unconscious throughout the procedure. The area at your back and buttock where the electrode leads and generator will be inserted will be prepped.
Your doctor will make a small incision in the middle of your back to expose the bony vertebra. A small portion of the bony arch at your back is removed to create room where the electrode leads will be placed.
With the aid of a fluoroscope, your doctor will then insert the electrode leads and positioned them in the epidural space and secured with sutures.
Your doctor may wake you up after inserting the leads. This is because you will need to provide feedback to your doctor.
When the leads are in the right position, a wire is passed under the skin from the spine to the buttock.
Your doctor will then make an incision in your buttock and create a pocket where the pulse generator will be placed. The wire is then connected to the pulse generator.
The incisions are closed and the skin glued.
When the pulse generator is put on, current flows from the wire to the electrode leads. The current or electrode pulses are transmitted to the spinal cord which blocks the pain signals from getting to the brain.
This procedure takes about 1 to 2 hours to be completed
After the procedure
After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery room where you will be woken up. You will be monitored and observed.
Your blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and pain improvements will be monitored.
You may be allowed to go back home the same day or the next morning.
Make arrangements for someone that will drive you back home.
You will be given instructions that you need to follow for your recovery process.
For the next six weeks, you are not allowed to bend or twist your back. You are not allowed to lift heavy objects or engage in strenuous activities.
You are not allowed to drink or smoke to avoid the risk of bleeding.