Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant

Overview of Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants in Chicago

A Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant is a device that is used to introduce an electrical impulse to the spinal cord in order to relieve chronic pain.

Electrical Stimulator Implants can be used to treat chronic pain by introducing an electrical impulse to either the peripheral nerve (peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS), or to the spinal cord (spinal cord stimulation (SCS). SCS is done utilizing implants that are placed as an outpatient.

To determine if the procedure will be beneficial to the patient, the Chicago pain management doctor will first use percutaneous electrodes which go through the skin and are connected to a control until the patient can control the level of stimulation. This is called a trial spinal cord stimulator and is typically left in place for 5 to 7 days to make sure the SCS implant is going to work.

If it is determined that the procedure is beneficial for you, the pain management doctor in Chicago will then implant the electrodes and a stimulator under your skin. The final SCS implant consists of a larger paddle lead around the spinal cord, which connects to a battery/programming unit that sits subcutaneously just above the buttock.


What conditions are treatable with Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants?

Candidates for Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants are those people who suffer from chronic pain related to (FBSS) failed back surgery syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, ischemic leg pain, chronic lower back and leg pain, and nerve-related pain and numbness. It is also used experimentally for conditions such as MS (multiple sclerosis), intractable angina, pelvic/abdominal pain and paraplegia.

How is the Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant procedure performed?

The procedure is conducted as an outpatient procedure with local anesthetic and a sedative, and is a mildly invasive procedure compared to a simple injection. The procedure usually takes about 60 minutes to perform. To first determine if the treatment is effective, the Chicago pain doctor will place electrodes into the skin and the patient will carry an external stimulator that can control the level of stimulation.

If the treatment proves effective at relieving at least 50% of the individual’s pain, the doctor will then implant electrodes into the spinal canal (wire leads from the electrodes to the stimulator, and the stimulator itself) are implanted subcutaneously (under the skin). The device is programmable from outside the skin, and it’s also rechargeable. The latest SCS implants are truly remarkable and have over 200 programming options.


What are the expectations when a patient receives a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant?

If the preliminary trial with the external stimulator proved to be effective in the relief of chronic pain the patient has a high expectancy of continued relief with the implanted device in place. Approximately half of Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant recipients report pain relief, and of those, it is typically reported that there is a 50%-70% reduction in their pain levels.

How long does the Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant last?

Depending upon the amount of usage, the latest Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants will last from five to twenty years upon which a follow-up procedure may require a battery change. The most recent rechargeable batteries being used in the stimulator devices  have dramatically increased the battery life of the implants.

Other than battery replacement and short of malfunction, the implant device is permanent. The pain relief effects of the device, however, may decrease over time as the body becomes accustomed to the electrical stimulation. Just as with opioid medications for pain; the body can develop a tolerance to the electrical stimulation provided by the device.

What risks or side effects are there with a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant?

There is a small risk of infection at the incision sites and also a risk of deterioration of the skin in the area of the stimulator.

The possibility of the electrode (s) migrating (moving out of place) can decrease the effectiveness of the electrical impulses. Spinal fluid leakage is a possibility and this can cause irritation and headaches. Scar tissue may develop around the leads reducing the effectiveness of the electrical impulses. The stimulator device itself may fail.

How successful are Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants for the relief of pain?

The procedure has shown to be effective in approximately 75% of recipients and of those it is estimated that pain levels are reduced by 50%-70%. To determine if you are a candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants discuss the procedure with your Chicago pain management specialist to determine if a temporary external device may provide relief from your chronic pain.


Premier Pain & Spine is the top pain management clinics in Chicago. The pain doctors are Double Board Certified and have significant expertise in all types of spinal cord stimulator implants.

Most insurance is accepted, call (847) 519-4701 for more information and scheduling!

Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant Pain Treatment in Chicago

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