Spinal Cord or Peripheral Nerve Stimulator Placement for Treating Intense Nerve Pain
If you've tried everything for your excruciating chronic spine or nerve pain and you don’t think there is anything that can help, a nerve stimulator might be right for you. Dr. Siegal at Key Clinics can perform either a spinal cord stimulator or peripheral nerve stimulator placement. Usually, he uses this surgical procedure after an individual has tried other pain management options, including stellate ganglion blocks, trigger point injections, epidural blocks, behavioral therapy, medication, and sometimes other spine surgeries.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
Dr. Siegal, a board-certified neurosurgeon at Key Clinics, performs a spinal cord stimulator placement for patients with conditions or diseases that affect the nerves. For instance, this is a viable option for someone with multiple sclerosis or reflex sympathetic dystrophy, also called complex regional pain syndrome. This device also helps in cases of a vertebral fracture and herniated disc, as well as neuropathic pain caused by diabetes, radiation or chemotherapy and vascular insufficiency.
What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
A spinal cord stimulator consists of electrodes that are placed along the affected area of the spine. These electrodes are then used to disrupt pain signals by generating electrical pulses. However, before having a full system implanted, Dr. Siegal first conducts a trial, which involves the placement of a temporary stimulator using a local anesthetic. With the trial, he can determine how well a patient responds to the treatment and if the individual feels comfortable controlling the stimulator.
The trial period is also used to make sure the device is targeting the right pain areas. Dr. Siegal and a representative of the stimulator manufacturer will work with you to ensure that the pulses target the right spot at the right intensity.
How Does a Spinal Cord Stimulator Work?
With a successful trial, Dr. Siegal can then perform a standard spinal cord stimulator placement with the patient under anesthesia. Depending on the area of the spine involved, he makes an incision through which he places the electrodes that run along the spinal cord. Dr. Siegal makes a second incision for the placement of the internal battery that connects to the placed electrodes. This incision is usually in the buttocks or abdomen, again based on the area of the spine treated.
Because the stimulator has an internal battery, the patient uses a secondary device to control it after returning home. The individual can change the intensity and frequency of the electrical pulses, shut the stimulator off, and even recharge the internal battery. The internal battery is a huge breakthrough for spinal cord stimulator placement. With earlier models, patients had to undergo revision surgery to replace a dead or defective battery.
Does Spinal Cord Stimulator Placement Work?
The majority of patients who go through this surgery have incredible success. Although the exact degree of pain reduction depends on the patient, implanting this device can lower pain anywhere from 35 to 75 percent. Patients with a stimulator need to take some precautions, but for the most part, they can return to normal activities once fully healed.
What is a Peripheral Nerve Stimulator and When is it Used?
A peripheral nerve stimulator is placed under a patient’s skin along a peripheral nerve in order to mask chronic pain with paresthesias or the “tinglies”. If a peripheral nerve is determined to be the source of a patient’s discomfort, Dr. Siegal now has the ability to treat the selective nerve that may be the culprit with a minimally invasive technique.
Consulting With Dr. Siegal
If you suffer from intense back pain, especially in connection with one of the health-related conditions mentioned, you might be an excellent candidate for a spinal cord stimulator or peripheral nerve stimulator placement. Contact us at Key Clinics to speak with Dr. Siegal to determine if this surgery is right for you.