Quick Answer: How does a trial spinal cord stimulator work?

The trial period is similar to long-term therapy, except that the device transmitting current is not implanted in the body. Instead, just the wires are inserted and an external transmitter sends electrical pulses to the electrical contacts near the spinal cord.

How long does a spinal cord stimulator trial take?

About The Trial Procedure

The procedure to receive the trial system takes about 30 to 90 minutes and is usually done in a doctor’s office or day surgery center.

What can I expect from a spinal cord stimulator trial?

A spinal cord stimulator trial period is at least 5 to 7 days. This gives you time to test the device and evaluate its effectiveness managing your pain at rest and during activity. While SCS may not completely eliminate your pain, a 50% reduction in pain is considered a successful trial.

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Are you put to sleep for a spinal cord stimulator trial?

This procedure is done in a hospital or ambulatory surgery setting and requires general anesthesia (being put to sleep). A small incision is made in the lower back for placement of the electrodes as described in the trial. The electrodes are secured to the ligaments and bone of the spine.

How do they remove a spinal cord stimulator trial?

How is a spinal cord stimulator trial removed? After your trial period ends (usually, in anywhere from 3 to 7 days), your doctor will remove the spinal cord stimulator trial leads by simply pulling on them. You might feel some discomfort during this process, but you shouldn’t experience anything more than minor pain.

How long is recovery after spinal cord stimulator surgery?

Expect to engage only in light activity for at least two weeks after your surgery. Most patients are healed completely by four weeks post-surgery, but it can take up to 12 weeks.

Why can’t you drive with a spinal cord stimulator?

Your doctor will provide you with a medical ID card that authorizes and explains the device. Additionally, driving is not recommended when your spinal cord stimulator is powered on. Although the electrical impulses are not painful, they can be distracting when driving.

Is spinal cord stimulator surgery painful?

As with any surgery—even a minimally invasive one—the initial recovery period following spinal cord stimulation implantation can be painful. Light activities can often be resumed after two to three weeks, but complete recovery may take six to eight weeks.

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How do you sleep with a spinal cord stimulator trial?

Be sure to sleep on your side or your back during the trial. Do not raise or reach your arms over your head.

How do you prepare for a spinal cord stimulator trial?

Do not have anything to eat or drink for 6 hours prior to your scheduled trial. The trial is outpatient and you should plan on being there for 3-4 hours. You will receive an antibiotic to prevent infection. Let your TCPC provider know if you have any allergies to antibiotics.

What are the side effects of a spinal cord stimulator?


May include: undesirable change in stimulation (uncomfortable, jolting or shocking); hematoma, epidural hemorrhage, paralysis, seroma, infection, erosion, device malfunction or migration, pain at implant site, loss of pain relief, and other surgical risks.

Who is a good candidate for a spinal cord stimulator?

The best candidates for SCS treatment are patients who suffer from chronic back or neck pain that’s not related to movement. SCS can also benefit patients who have pain remaining after back surgery that is not due to movement, as well as patients with conditions including: Lumbar radiculopathy. Sciatica.

How long does the battery last in a spinal cord stimulator?

Fully implantable non-rechargeable pulse generators have a battery life of between 2 and 5 years. A new SCS system with a rechargeable power source may last 10 to 25 years, or longer.

Can spinal cord stimulator cause weight loss?

Unexpectedly, SCS stimulation was also associated with a tingling sensation in the viscera and a reduction in appetite. Both patients were thus able to reduce food intake at mealtimes and had lost about 9 kg in the first 4 months of SCS use, despite denying changes in exercise habits.

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What is the success rate of a spinal cord stimulator?

Objective: Presently, the long-term success rate of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) ranges from 47% to 74%. SCS efficacy is inversely proportional to the passage of time between development of chronic pain syndrome and time of implantation. To improve outcomes, implantation should be performed early.

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