What Is a Lumbar Spinal Cord Stimulator?
If you have severe back and neck pain, and other treatments have failed, Dr. Lewis may suggest the installation of a spinal cord stimulator. This device delivers electrical signals to the spine or nerves to prevent the brain from receiving pain signals.
What Is a Spinal Cord Stimulator Device Like?
The lumbar spinal cord stimulator device delivers electrical signals and is implanted via a thin needle. The device is located near the spinal cord. First, a small incision is made to implant a pulse generator in the upper buttock. After the surgery, you can turn the device on or off and adjust the intensity. Many devices cause a tingling sensation.
There are many spinal cord stimulator devices to choose from. Dr. Lewis will discuss the type of device suggested for your particular condition so that you are fully aware and comfortable with the procedure. He has performed spinal cord stimulation since 1990. The operation can be performed under conscious sedation instead of general anesthesia.
Typically, units are fully implanted and contain a pulse generator, which is similar to a battery. Newer devices feature pulse generators that recharge through the skin. Other models do not require recharging but also do not last as long as rechargeable models. Another configuration for spinal cord stimulator devices includes a transmitter, antenna, and receiver that use radio frequency to operate. The antenna and transmitter remain outside the body and the receiver is implanted along the spine.
When Is Spinal Cord Stimulator Used?
Dr. Lewis may recommend spinal cord stimulator after other treatment methods have proven ineffective. Typically, surgery options have also failed or may not help your specific condition.
The therapy is designed to alleviate pain for these conditions:
- Arachnoiditis, a painful inflammation of the protective layers covering the spinal nerves
- Chronic neck pain, sometimes including arm pain
- Peripheral neuropathy, which causes burning sensations in the legs as the nerves die off
- Complex regional pain syndrome, a progressive nervous system disorder that causes constant pain and a burning sensation
- Refractory angina, which causes fatigue and shortness of breath
Common Risks Following Surgery for Spinal Cord Stimulator
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with lumbar spinal cord stimulator. Generally, the procedure is considered to be safe and the electrical impulses associated with the device do not cause further damage or injury. However, you should check back with Dr. Lewis often regarding the long-term use of the device.
One common risk factor includes the migration of the leads that send electrical impulses to your spine. Other issues that can arise include failed connections and breakage of the leads.
Dr. Lewis has highly specialized training and experience with lumbar surgery and pain management. The surgery typically requires x-ray or ultrasound guidance to assist with the proper placement of the device and leads.
Contact the Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic to find out more about lumbar spinal cord stimulator surgery. Call us at (601) 366-1011 today to schedule an appointment. We’ll find a solution that works for you.