Spinal cord stimulators (SCS) are great for patients that have epidural fibrosis (scar) or have had “too many back surgeries.” Scar formation is not entirely predictable or preventable. When scar strangles the nerves in the back, an effective way to treat the patient is with a spinal stimulator. When a patient has had multiple back surgeries and still have unbearable pain, spinal cord stimulators are very effective.
Image of SCS
One of the advantages of SCS is that you get to try it first before having the surgery. A pain management physician can guide the electrodes into position through small needles. The cables are covered by a dressing and attached to a remote control and a computer several programs that reduce or remove pain. A technician assists in setting the programs according to your pain relief. If the stimulator is effective, then the electrodes are removed, and the permanent implant is placed.
The rehabilitation is essentially relaxing and walking for two weeks, followed by modified activity for four weeks.
Note: SCS is not the same as external bone stimulators which are used after fusion surgery.