Spinal Cord Stimulation: The Benefits & Risks

Advantages and Disadvantages of Spinal Cord Stimulation

For the 30 million or so Americans living with back pain, anything that can provide relief is worth considering. Spinal cord stimulation implants offer a potential source of relief for more than 14,000 patients each year. Usually implanted under the skin at the base of the spine, the device delivers a low-voltage electrical impulse meant to disrupt pain signals being sent to the brain.

How Spinal Cord Implants Work

After a Los Angeles spine surgeon makes initial adjustments to the implant, patients can control the impulses sent from the stimulator to determine strength and timing. When the implant is in place and delivering impulses, patients experience a tingling sensation in the area usually affected by pain.

Potential Benefits

Patients usually have the option of trying the implant for a trial period before deciding whether or not to have a permanent implant inserted. There are few side effects and the implant can be removed if it’s no longer effective.

Other benefits of a spinal cord stimulation implant include:

  • A minimally invasive outpatient procedure
  • No restriction of movements or activities because the implant is under the skin
  • Reduced reliance on medications, including some that may have potentially serious side effects.

Possible Risks to Consider

Spinal cord implants aren’t for everyone. Approximately 50 to 60 percent of patients who try the implant report significant relief. Spinal cord stimulation is not a treatment that addresses the actual source of pain. It simply changes how pain is interpreted. In some cases, the pain can be better treated or managed with other remedies.

Ideal candidates for spinal cord implants are in otherwise good health, both physically and mentally, with no serious depression or coexisting conditions like chronic high blood pressure. Patients who tend to benefit from implants are those with pain from conditions such as herniated discs, sciatic nerve compression, degenerative disc disease, and lingering discomfort from unsuccessful disc surgery.

At The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration, spinal stimulation is just one of many solutions we offer for pain relief. For more information on the minimally invasive spine surgery Los Angeles patients claim has alleviated their pain, call 310-828-7757 today.