Patients frequently present with chronic pain, whether this be in the arms, legs, or spinal column. If no other surgical treatment exists and conservative therapy has failed, a spinal cord stimulator is a viable option for these patients.
Types of Spinal Cord Stimulators
Spinal cord stimulators are categorized as percutaneous or open procedures. Most trials are done by interventional pain doctors and are meant to determine if the patient’s chronic pain will be alleviated by the procedure. Once this has been determined, a permanent system can be placed either by the pain physician doing the trial or by a neurosurgeon. The advantage of the open technique, which is done by a neurosurgeon, is broader coverage and improved pain control as the implant has more programming options than the percutaneous system.
How to Obtain Information on Spinal Cord Stimulators
The first step is to obtain a consultation with a neurosurgeon or an interventional pain specialist who does this procedure. This will allow the patient to gather information about the technology and determine if this treatment option will help. If the patient decides to proceed, a neuropsych evaluation is required for insurance authorization. Once this is completed a trial is scheduled. If the trial is successful, and the chronic pain symptoms are relieved, authorization is obtained for either a percutaneous or open permanent implant.
I would be happy to discuss this option with you and your family if additional information is requested.