Pumps and Stimulators

What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) or Dorsal Column Stimulator (DCS) is an implantable medical device used to treat chronic pain of neurologic origin. An electric impulse generated by the device near the dorsal surface of the spinal cord provides a paresthesia ("tingling") sensation that alters the perception of pain by the patient. A spinal cord stimulator is placed into the epidural space either by percutaneous approach or by surgical laminectomy or laminotomy. A pulse generator or RF receiver is implanted in the abdomen or buttocks. A wire connects the lead to the pulse generator.

Are there any risks?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks with spinal cord stimulators, These include possible infection, bleeding, headache, allergic reaction and spinal fluid leakage.

What are the benefits of using a spinal cord stimulator?
There are also numerous benefits to using this type of therapy, including:

Is it right for you?
While there is no guarantee that spinal cord stimulation will alleviate all of your discomfort, most patients report a 50% - 70% decrease in pain. This decrease can make your pain much more manageable and allow you to return to a more active life.

What is an intrathecal pump?
Intrathecal pumps (or pain pumps) delivers pain medication directly to the intrathecal space around the spinal cord via an implanted pump. The pump is implanted during a surgical procedure, and medication in the pump is added periodically (e.g. monthly) by injecting medication through the skin into the pump reservoir.

Spinal pumps may be used to manage chronic pain from osteoporosis or axial somatic pain (nociceptive pain), and sometimes may by used to manage pain from failed back surgery syndrome. Spinal pumps are also used to treat painful spasticity as is seen in multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury.

Is it possible to overdose?
Your spinal pump will be programmed by your doctor to release a continuous infusion of medication. In the pump, there's a computer chip that determines the exact dosage and when it's released into your body. The pump has a lockout interval, meaning it limits how much medication can be delivered during a period of time. There is no opportunity for you to make a mistake and take too much medication.