Spinal Cord Stimulator

Advantages of a Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS)

For patients with chronic pain, sometimes more conservative methods are not enough to treat the condition. In such cases, surgical methods are the next step. Surgical procedures can be divided into two broad categories: they range from being minimally invasive to open or traditional. Minimally invasive surgeries (like SCS) have natural benefits tied to them.

All of that being said, minimally invasive procedures are not for everyone. For some cases, they are simply not a viable treatment route. In other cases, a doctor may have to perform multiple procedures if the minimally invasive surgery is not a success. Like all surgical procedures, complications such as excessive bleeding, infection, and allergic reactions can occasionally occur.

Potential benefits specifically tied to SCS include:

  1. Better spinal functionality
  2. Improved mobility
  3. Reduced pain (less need for opioids and other medications)
  4. Eliminates brace dependency to a degree
  5. Improved mood
  6. Return to a normal sleep schedule

Benefits of SCS–and any surgical procedure for that matter–will depend on the individual. The most important thing to remember is that SCS helps to reduce pain, but it does not eliminate it. In other words, SCS is an effective treatment, but not a permanent cure.

Eligibility Requirements for a Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS)

Before any surgical procedure, a doctor must perform an evaluation of the patient’s physical condition. Additionally, the patient will need to provide information such as medication regimens, pain history, and medical history. Because chronic pain often leads to emotional problems, it may also be necessary for a psychologist to perform an evaluation.

Medical experts generally define chronic pain as any pain that lasts for longer than 3 months. If conservative treatments do not provide ample alleviation, then the patient may be eligible for an SCS. It is important to note that spine-associated pain is more complicated than it may seem. The pain does not necessarily have to occur in the lower back in order for a patient to be eligible. For example, in cases of sciatic nerve inflammation, the patient may feel chronic pain in the leg. These patients are just as eligible for an SCS as those with lower back pain.

Other factors for SCS eligibility include:

  1. The patient has no pre-existing medical conditions that would interfere with the SCS
  2. The patient does not need additional surgery
  3. The condition causing the pain is treatable
  4. The patient does not currently have untreated depression
  5. The patient does not currently have untreated drug addiction
  6. Successful SCS implantation has already been performed

Do you have chronic pain that prevents you from functioning in your daily life? Have more conservative treatment methods not given you the relief you need? If so, please contact us at (973) 538-0900 for a consultation. Our doctors are highly-trained spine specialists who will ensure that you receive the treatment you need for your case.