Surgical Procedures

Spinal Cord Stimulator

A spinal cord stimulator can be beneficial for patients who are experiencing pain that has not responded to other treatment.

A spinal cord stimulator sends electrical currents into specific areas of your spinal cord to interrupt the message of pain before it gets to your brain.

First of all, you need to have a trial of spinal cord stimulator to see if a permanent stimulator is likely to relieve your pain. This procedure is done in hospital under anaesthetic and with x-ray guidance. Electrodes are inserted through special needles into the epidural space over the back of the spinal cord in the area appropriate for where your pain is. A temporary device is then connected and turned on and settings adjusted to get the best coverage for your specific pain.

Usually the trial goes for around a week and Dr Davies will see you in his office and find out how your pain is during the trial period. If the trial is deemed successful, he will then make plans to insert a permanent stimulator. You will need to have the trial leads removed and to have healed from that before we move on to the permanent stimulator.

Insertion of a permanent stimulator is done in the hospital under anaesthetic and Dr Davies will insert electrodes the same way he did with the trial. The electrodes are then tunnelled under the skin to a small battery about the same size as a matchbox, which is surgically placed underneath the skin, usually in the upper buttock region.

Wireless Bluetooth technology allows you to connect to your stimulator via a remote control for you to adjust settings accordingly, which allows you to be in control of your own therapy. Programs and settings are programmed according to each individual under the guidance of the technician who will maintain regular contact with you and make adjustments as required for the lifetime of your device.