Cervical Spinal Cord Stimulator
The Cervical Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) is an electronic device that is used to provide pain relief from chronic pain in the back, arms, and legs. This simulator is inspired by the spinal cord stimulation therapy, which argues for masking the pain instead of curing it. Similar to a pacemaker, the SCS is surgically placed in the region suffering from chronic pain. Once inserted, the device emits mild electronic pulses that mask or modify the pain signals from the nerve endings in the pain region. The device stimulates the nerve endings in duress to disguise the pain signals being transmitted to the brain, which reduces the pain being experienced by an individual. The SCS is a safer alternative to opioids medication for pain management.
Who needs Cervical Spinal Cord Stimulator?
Generally, any individual who is suffering from chronic and excruciating pain because of:
Often, spinal surgeries for a myriad of spinal conditions such as degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis often fail or are successful but leave the patients with chronic, debilitating pain. Also known as failed back surgery syndrome.
Prolonged pain in the back, arm, or legs caused by injury to the vertebral column through sporting accidents, auto accidents, gunshot wounds, or falls.
- Medical Condition:
Individuals who are suffering from chronic pain because of medical conditions such as Neck Pain, Arthritis, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Degenerative Disc Disease, Nerve Damage, Arachnoiditis, Multiple Sclerosis, Cervical Disc Damage, Stump Pain, Pinched Nerve, and Occlusive Peripheral Vascular Disease, etc. are ideal candidates for a Cervical Spinal Cord Simulator surgery.
However, candidacy for a Cervical Spinal Cord Simulator is determined through a careful and thorough evaluation of the physical condition, medical and pain history, and pain medication regime of the patient. An expert panel of board-certified fellowship-trained physicians, neurosurgeons, and psychiatrists will evaluate these factors to determine the suitability of a client for SCS.
In general, individuals who have been suffering from chronic and excruciating pain for more than 3-months in the lower back, arm, or legs regions are considered suitable for this surgery.
Other conditions of suitability for Spinal Cord Stimulator may include:
- The patient has carefully considered all treatment options for chronic pain.
- Mainstream pain management regimes and therapies have failed to manage pain.
- The patient does not want to take the risk of another spinal surgery for the threat of long recovery time, and other life-threatening factors.
- Physicians do not recommend another surgery, as it will not be beneficial.
- The pain stems from a correctable problem that may be fixed by the SCS.
- The patient does not have any condition which will prevent them from having an implant in their spinal cord.
- The patient has successfully completed the trial period for the SCS.
- The patient should not have a history of depression or drug addiction. These ailments should be treated before opting for SCS.
How is Cervical Spinal Cord Stimulator Placed?
The Cervical Spinal Cord Simulator is placed in the spinal cord through a minimally invasive spine surgery by our board-certified spinal surgeons, spine specialists, and neurosurgeons. The following steps make it easier to understand the procedure:
- Pre-Surgery: CSC Trial
Before a permanent SCS is inserted in the body through an invasive procedure, the panel of surgeons conducts a ‘CSC Trial,’ which evaluates the physical suitability of the device for the patient’s pain considering the region and type of pain.
An anesthesiologist numbs the area of the incision; the neurosurgeon inserts a small hollow needle in the epidural space to situate the trial lead which is attached to an external device worn on a belt.
The patient is sent home with instructions to monitor the pain level and manage the device. The patient is advised to monitor this activity for 4-7 days, after which the panel may take two decisions:
(i) Remove the trial lead as they are not providing pain relief.
(ii) Prepare for a permanent surgical implant because the SCS considerable reduced the chronic pain.
The individual is given generalized, light anesthesia, and the areas of the patient’s back and buttocks are prepared for surgery. The surgeons will make two small incisions: one in the back for the leads and one in the buttocks for the device.
The surgeons will remove a small portion of the arch of a vertebra to make room for the leads; the leads will be placed in the epidural space; they will not touch the spinal cord directly.
Once the leads are placed safely and securely in the epidural space, the surgeons will connect them to the generator implanted in the buttocks. The surgeons will secure the leads and the generator with sutures to ensure minimal discomfort and dislocation.
Once the device is secured, the surgeons close the incision and apply the dressing.
The patient will be monitored closely in the recovery room for 24-48 hours and then will be discharged with after-care instructions.
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Does Insurance Cover Spinal Cord Stimulator?
- Most health insurance programs, including Medicare, most worker’s compensation programs, and commercial payers, cover spinal cord stimulator surgery.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
- You should expect a complete recovery from a spinal cord stimulator implant in a period of six weeks to two months.
- The period depends on your overall health, age, and surgical placement.
How Long Does the Battery Last in a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
- Some spinal cord stimulator systems with a non-rechargeable battery need to be surgically replaced every two to five years.
- Rechargeable battery systems can last for eight to ten years and even longer, depending on the frequency of use.
- You must remember to charge the system daily.
What Is the Success Rate of a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
- Patients suffering from chronic back pain reported good to excellent long-term relief with a spinal cord stimulator implant.
- Spinal cord stimulator is considered successful if the pain is reduced by half.