Spinal Cord Stimulator

Spinal Cord Stimulator

A spinal cord stimulator is a surgically implanted device that sends low levels of electric pulses to the spinal cord to relieve pain. Since the spinal cord transmits nerve impulses to the brain, injuries or other conditions to the spine can result in pain and mobility issues. 

This procedure works through a collection of wires and a small battery pack. The electrodes are placed between the spinal cord and the vertebrae, and the battery is placed either below the buttocks or the abdomen. This effective form of therapy works by targeting multiple muscle groups directly from the spine and then alters how the brain senses pain. If you are experiencing chronic back pain, connect with our team at BEST Health System and allow us to guide you on your path to recovery.

When is Spinal Cord Stimulation an Option?

The spine is constructed to protect the spinal cord, but it also supports the upper and lower body, allowing for movement and flexibility. This puts the spinal cord and surrounding nerves at risk for compression and other injuries. Although not every spine condition is treatable with a spinal cord stimulator, commonly treated conditions include:

  • Chronic back and leg pain due to age-related conditions 
  • Complications related to previous spine surgery, also known as failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS)
  • Arachnoiditis, or painful inflammation of the thin membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord
  • Neuropathy related to diabetes
  • Complex regional pain syndrome is a progressive condition that causes pain in the extremities

Types of Spinal Cord Stimulator Procedures

Spinal cord stimulators can vary, there are three general types:

  • Conventional implantable pulse generator (IPG): A battery is implanted during the procedure. A new surgery will be necessary if the battery runs out. 
  • Rechargeable IPG: This is similar to the conventional IPG, but the battery is rechargeable, resulting in less of a need for surgery. 
  • Radiofrequency stimulator uses a battery located outside of the body: This type of stimulator is rarely used today due to new technology.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Procedure and Recovery

Previous to receiving a spinal cord stimulator procedure, a patient typically undergoes a trial procedure to determine its effectiveness. For the permanent implantation, the electrodes will be replaced with new ones that the surgeon anchors to the body, and the battery pack will be implanted safely under the skin, often near the base of the spine. 

The length of this procedure may vary, but it typically takes one to two hours. The recovery time is minimal, and the incision will generally heal in two to four weeks.

The Cost of Spinal Cord Stimulator Procedures

The cost of spinal cord stimulator procedures may vary depending on the device being used and the carrier. BEST Health System works with Medicare, most private health insurances, workers’ compensation, and personal injury cases. If you are experiencing back pain, reach out to our team at BEST Health System and see what options for treatment are available to you. 

Reach out to BEST Health System.

If you’ve exhausted treatment and chronic pain is reducing your ability to spend time with your family and perform at your job, spinal cord stimulation could be an option. Our world-class surgical team at BEST Health System has decades of experience helping patients find the relief they deserve through spinal cord stimulation and other therapies. 

To learn more, contact our dedicated team today.

Procedure Doctors

Headshot of Keith Girton, M.D.

Keith Girton, M.D.

Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon

Best Surgery Center

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