Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants
You no longer have to live with chronic pain. Technological and medical advancements now make it possible to reduce and control chronic pain long-term, restoring your mobility and comfort and giving you your life back. If you have chronic leg or arm pain (sciatica), complex regional pain, back surgery failure or arachnoiditis (inflammation of the spinal nerve lining), a spinal cord stimulator — or SCS — could improve your symptoms. If you have tried other therapies to manage your pain, and they have failed, it’s time to consider the many advantages of an SCS now.
A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is a surgically implanted device that transmits small amounts of electrical current to targeted spinal cord nerves. Spinal cord stimulation, or neurostimulation as the treatment is also called, is an innovative treatment that addresses many of the most acute conditions and difficult pain problems successfully. SCS is frequently an effective treatment for patients who have tried many other treatments but have not obtained relief.
What does SCS treat?
SCS is an ideal treatment to pursue if you have any of the following diagnoses and have tried other treatments with no improvement in your pain levels.
SCS can effectively treat:
- Neuropathic Pain — pain that is the result of nerve damage or disease
- Diabetic Neuropathy — nerve damage that is the result of diabetes, resulting in pain or numbness in the legs and feet, as well as other health problems
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) — lasting pain in the arms or legs, typically occurring after an injury, heart attack or stroke
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) — a long-term pain condition that can affect any of the limbs, with origins in the peripheral or central nervous system
- Post-laminectomy Syndrome (failed back surgery syndrome) — pain which continues even after having had a laminectomy, or back surgery, as treatment
If you have chronic pain but are unsure whether SCS is right for you, schedule an in-person consultation with Dr. Zvezdomir Zamfirov at All Star Pain Management and Regenerative Medicine today. Dr. Zed, as he likes being called, will spend ample time getting to know you and reviewing your medical history so he can recommend the best course of treatment to control your pain and restore your life now.
How does spinal cord stimulator treatment work?
Spinal cord stimulators can relieve your pain without needing to correct the problems which cause it. SCS provides pain relief by emitting electrical current that interferes with pain signal transmission to the brain, substituting it with a more pleasant sensation — reducing your pain. Like many patients who have an SCS, you may achieve pain relief of 50 to 70 percent compared to your current levels. The amount of pain relief, however, does vary from patient to patient.
The SCS device produces these results in one of two ways. When the SCS stimulates the spinal cord using low-frequency electrical current, it can replace pain with a tingling sensation, called paresthesia, which is significantly more tolerable for most individuals. Alternately, the SCS can mask your pain through the delivery of high-frequency current. You will have the ability to select the setting which produces the best results for you.
While you may choose from several different SCS models, each will consist of the same three primary components. These are:
- The pulse generator — this generates the current which will stimulate your spinal cord
- A lead wire — this will deliver the current to the appropriate locations
- A remote control — this will allow you to change the settings of your device to optimize your pain relief
Spinal cord stimulators may have either a single-use battery that can last from two to five years or a rechargeable battery that can last eight to 10 years. The former will require surgery to replace at a later date. The choice of device is yours. The generator will also adapt current to your physical position and activity levels to continue to deliver optimum pain relief in a variety of situations.
You will require surgery to place the device once you and Dr. Zed have established that it will provide you more than 50 percent relief of your pain. To determine this, you will first have a spinal cord stimulator trial, which is described below in detail. During your trial, only the lead wires will be placed on your spinal cord. Dr. Zed will not yet place the pulse generator inside your body until your level of pain relief is fully understood.
What is a spinal cord stimulator trial?
Before permanently implanting the device, Dr. Zed will recommend a trial period. The soft, thin wires and electrical leads are placed in the epidural space along the spinal cord through a needle. These wires then connect to a portable generator, worn outside the body. The stimulation trial is done for four to six days to give the patient time to see if it works. No surgery is involved during the trial period.
Do I qualify for spinal cord stimulator treatment?
If you suffer from chronic pain, your All Star Pain Management providers will first attempt to help you using conventional measures. These methods may include medications, physical therapy or injections. If your pain persists, your doctor may then suggest a spinal cord stimulator.
Additionally, your doctor may consult with your past medical providers to help make this determination, including your pain specialist, physiatrist, psychologist or neurosurgeon, where appropriate. You must also have suffered from the effects of chronic pain for more than three months to be considered for SCS treatment.
You may also qualify for the treatment if one or more of the following conditions apply:
- Other treatments have failed to manage your pain.
- Your doctor has determined that additional surgery will not mitigate your pain.
- You do not want to have another major surgery.
- Other medical conditions do not disqualify you for an SCS.
- Your SCS trial has given you significant pain relief.
How do I prepare for the procedure?
During your consultation, Dr. Zed will go over the risks and benefits of SCS so that you can make a fully informed decision about whether to have a spinal cord stimulator treatment. Afterward, you will schedule your surgery with Dr. Zed. In the days before your surgery, you will need to take some steps to prepare. First, you should stop taking any medications that thin the blood for at least five to seven days prior to your surgery. You should also avoid alcohol and stop smoking if you are a smoker, before surgery. It is recommended to continue to avoid smoking throughout your recovery, as well. Also, prior to your procedure, Dr. Zed will assess your fitness for surgery through a variety of tests and physical examinations. This helps avoid any complications and ensures your safety during treatment and throughout your recovery.
How is the final implant performed?
Most individuals find the surgery very tolerable. You will have your procedure performed by Dr. Zed under heavy sedation or general anesthesia. After your anesthesia has taken effect, your doctor will make a small incision in your lower abdomen or buttocks. The small pulse generator device will be placed on top of muscle but below the fatty tissue. The lead wires will run from the unit to the spinal cord, connecting to the previously placed leads. After the unit Dr. Zed has placed both the generator and wires, he will close the incision using sutures.
What can I expect after the SCS surgery?
After your procedure, a nurse will monitor you for around 45 to 60 minutes while you awaken from the sedation. Your incision sites will be sore but this is a temporary side effect of surgery. Typically, discomfort lasts only a few days. Before going home, you will be given your discharge and recovery instructions. It is important that you keep the incisions clean and dry and that you avoid participation in rigorous activities for a few weeks after your procedure. By doing so, you will give your body sufficient time to heal and avoid complications in your surgical area.
What results can I expect from SCS surgery treatment?
You can expect significant and long-lasting pain relief, for issues such as chronic back pain, as a result of spinal cord stimulation treatment. Several current, rigorous studies support this conclusion. For example, clinical studies show that SCS treatment has a 90 percent success rate and offers up to 70 percent pain reduction in most patients. Another recent study shows that, of 50 FBSS patients treated with SCS, 90 percent still reported pain relief two years after their surgery, and this majority reported more than 50% pain reduction.
It is important to understand that every patient is unique and may respond to their SCS treatment differently. Not all patients will enjoy the results outlined in these trials and studies. However, if you have chronic pain and qualify for treatment, you could enjoy dramatic benefits quickly. You deserve to live pain free and you owe it to yourself to explore this innovative and safe option now with Dr. Zed at All Star Pain Management.
Chronic pain suffers — explore the benefits of spinal cord stimulation treatment now with leading pain-relief provider, Dr. Zed Zamfirov, today!
You deserve to live pain-free — today. And spinal cord stimulation may give you the relief you have been searching for. However, for the utmost safety and the best results, you will want to select a surgeon who is both highly-qualified and also has significant experience treating pain sufferers with SCS. This is why so many satisfied patients see Dr. Zed first and choose him to perform their pain-relief surgery. Dr. Zed has helped countless patients overcome pain without complications and with lasting results.
Most patients understand the difference between Dr. Zed and any other doctor during their first consultation. The doctor is wholly dedicated to the wellbeing of his patients. He does not treat medical concerns; he treats human beings seeking a better quality of life. Past patients attest to this. Certainly, no one is immune to chronic pain and injury. And no one should have to live with the consequences if they have been negatively affected because there is hope in an SCS treatment. If debilitating pain has become a constant struggle for you, it’s time to make a change.
Don’t wait. Schedule your in-person consultation with Dr. Zed at All Star Pain Management and Regenerative Medicine now to learn more about SCS and other cutting-edge treatments that can get you back to doing the things you love.
Call us today at 410-694-7435 to book your appointment and discuss your concerns with Dr. Zed in person. You can become a pain-free all-star with Dr. Zed and the All Star Pain Management team today.
- Kumar K, Taylor RS, Jacques L, Eldabe S, Meglio M, Molet J, et al. Spinal cord stimulation versus conventional medical management for neuropathic pain: a multicentre randomised controlled trial in patients with failed back surgery syndrome. Pain. 2007;132:179–188.
- North RB, Kidd DH, Farrokhi F, Piantadosi SA. Spinal cord stimulation versus repeated lumbosacral spine surgery for chronic pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Neurosurgery. 2005;56:98–106.
All Star Pain Management and Regenerative Medicine proudly serves the Annapolis, Greater Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas.