Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) Patient Guide

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1. Find the right doctor. You can use the free Neuromodec provider search. Discuss with doctor if you are a candidate.

2. Gets scheduled a few weeks out to give time for approvals and clearances

3. You may need to be cleared by a mental health professional as required by insurance companies or Medicare, to ensure you're a good candidate for elective surgery. Most patients will also need medical clearance and some basic labs.

4. Get the trial in an outpatient setting, usually there is some mild sedation for comfort but you are awake so that the doctor can communicate with the you during the procedure to ensure the device is placed optimally to manage your symptoms. The trial procedure will take about 45 minutes. During the trial, the doctor will place a needle into the epidural space (like an epidural steroid injection or an epidural for childbirth) and then a small wire will be threaded through that needle and into the epidural space next to the spinal cord.  Half of the lead will stay inside of you, next to the spinal cord, and the other half will stay outside of you which will be connected to a small battery to power the device (a stimulator).

5. You will go to a recovery area right after - at this point the doctor and a representative from the stimulator company will program the device and personalize the stimulation parameters to match your needs and goals.

6. You will go home with the trial stimulator in place for 3-7 days to "test drive" it to see if it is right for you. A successful trial is if you experiences at least 50% reduction in pain and a meaningful improvement in function.

7. At the end of the trial, the leads will need to be removed - this is typically done in an exam room. Whether the trial is a success or a failure, the leads are taken out.

8. If the trial is a success, then you can elect to have the stimulator implanted inside their body. This means putting leads back in the same way as during the trial except this time, the entire lead will go inside, tunneled under your skin and connected to a different kind of battery that is hidden under the skin. In the end, the leads and the battery are all placed under the skin. You will go home the same day and usually in as little as an hour after the implant. procedure is over

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Medically reviewed by Corey W Hunter, MD, FIPP - Ainsworth Institute of Pain Management and Mt Sinai Hospital

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