A Spinal cord stimulator (neurostimulator) is device positioned near the spine which delivers electrical pulses to the spinal cord to block pain signals from traveling up to the brain. In the treatment, electrodes are surgically placed to the spinal nerves and connect to a spinal cord stimulator (small battery operated device) that then sends electrical pulses to the nerves to mask pain.
Spinal Cord Stimulation does not eliminate the source of pain, it simply changes the way the brain perceives it. Spinal cord stimulator candidates include people who suffer from neuropathic pain and for whom conservative treatments have failed.
Initially, you will be given a trial procedure with an external Spinal cord stimulator so you and your surgeon can assess the benefit of the stimulator before it is implanted. You will be fitted with a trial device that works like an implanted system but can be easily removed. The trial is approximately 7- 14 days, and is designed to determine whether a Spinal cord stimulator will be beneficial in managing your pain. You are encouraged during the trial to undertake your regular daily activities to identify what benefit it would be to you.
If you and your doctor decide that Spinal cord stimulation is right for you, you may choose to have a system implanted to help you manage your pain more effectively. To receive a device, you will have a surgical procedure that is typically performed in a hospital.
A spinal cord stimulation system consists of two implanted components:
Once your admission has been arranged you will be notified of the details in writing. Prior to your admission to hospital we will contact you by phone to confirm all of your admission details.
You will be required to fast (NIL BY MOUTH – including water) for 6 hours prior to surgery.
If you are on aspirin or blood thinning medication such as Disprin, Plavix and Asasantin; or fish oil or krill oil you need to cease this medication 7 days prior to your admission.
The anaesthetist will talk with you and explains effects of anaesthesia and the risks.