A Spinal Cord Stimulator is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed on an outpatient basis. In this procedure, the patient receives a local anesthetic to be utilized with a medical device that directs small electrical pulses to stimulate the spinal cord and spinal nerves. An electrical wire is implanted in the epidural space just outside of the spinal cord and delivers these electrical pulses. A series of between 4 and 8 electrodes are evenly spaced out and programmed to generate an electrical field.
Spinal Cord Stimulators are usually only considered in situations where more traditional treatment methods have failed. The first step is to install a temporary spinal cord stimulator for approximately one week to allow the patient to try the treatment before undergoing a full device implant procedure. During a trial, the electrodes are placed using an introducer needle, and an external device is used to generate the current. If the patient feels some relief with the temporary device, then the permanent simulator can be fitted at a later date.