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How Does a Trial Spinal Cord Stimulation Work?

How Does a Trial Spinal Cord Stimulation Work?

If you suffer from chronic nerve pain, a spinal cord stimulator might be an excellent treatment option. However, you need to be scheduled for a trial run first. 

We’re spinal cord stimulation specialists who can walk you through the process, explaining what’s involved. At Regenerative Spine and Pain Institute, we want to make sure you’re fully informed so you can understand how it works, plus experience successful results.

How a spinal cord stimulator works

A spinal cord stimulator blocks and reduces pain signals that run through your spinal cord to your brain due to damaged nerves. It offers a drug-free option to minimize your pain, and it’s a minimally invasive process that doesn’t require major surgery. You can also try it before you say yes to it. 

What to expect during the procedure

If you suffer from chronic nerve pain, you can undergo a spinal cord stimulator trial to find out if it can relieve your pain before you decide to have one implanted.

Your trial procedure begins with applying local anesthesia to the injection site. Sedation is an option, as well. 

Next, we use fluoroscopy, which allows us to clearly see how to guide the implantation. We insert a hollow needle in the targeted area in your spinal canal. The needle contains insulated wires that have electrical contacts on them.

Once we identify the areas of pain that need relief, we connect the wires to an exterior pulse transmitter that attaches to a belt you wear. We tape the wire that connects to the neurostimulator to your back to hold it in place during your trial period.

After your procedure, we monitor you for a short period of time until you’re ready to go home. 

Taking control of the device

We program your handheld controller, which adjusts the amount of stimulation you can receive. When you turn it on, it sends pulses of current to the electrodes, and you control the amount of intensity delivered.

We may ask you to keep track of your stimulation settings and when you need the stimulation to understand how well the system relieves your pain during this 5-7 day period.

If you don’t show signs of relief, either a spinal cord stimulator isn’t right for you or the device may need to be reprogrammed.

What’s next?

If you experience success with trial spinal cord stimulation, we proceed to the full implantation procedure by replacing the temporary electrodes with permanent ones. We also place the generator under your skin during a minor surgical procedure.

Once we place the spinal cord stimulator, you have full control over the delivery of electrical signals using a remote control. 

Your spinal cord stimulator can stay implanted for 2-3 years.

To learn more about a trial spinal cord stimulation, click here to book an appointment or call one of our friendly administrative staff members in Plainsboro or Manalapan Township, New Jersey.

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