Advertisement

How is spinal cord stimulation (SCS) performed?

Dr. Michael E. Steuer, MD
Pain Medicine Specialist
A spinal cord stimulator procedure is performed in two parts. The first is a trial, followed by the permanent placement. Here's what to expect:
  • You will be sedated with local anesthesia.
  • Under live x-ray, a hollow needle will be guided into the epidural space. The needle contains thin wire, known as leads, with electrical contacts attached.
  • The leads are carefully placed into permanent position.
  • A very small incision is made for the generator to be inserted. Typically, the upper buttocks in the preferred area, although this is something decided by your and your healthcare provider prior to the procedure.
  • Wires are then fed through the leads to the generator and connected, enabling the current to flow when the stimulator is later turned on.
  • The incision is closed.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

During a reversible trial period, wires are threaded to the space outside the spinal cord. Electrical impulses from an external stimulator mask pain signals with a tingling sensation. If the trial is successful, a permanent device called a neurostimulator may be implanted. Watch the video for more information on SCS for lower back pain.

Continue Learning about Back Pain

Smoking Causes Back Pain
Smoking Causes Back Pain
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ back-to-back-to-back victories made them the first team in NBA history to win a championship after being behind in the playof...
Read More
How can I alleviate lower back pain?
UCLA HealthUCLA Health
If you have some minor low back pain, I typically recommend some core-strengthening exercises, rest ...
More Answers
Exercises That Won’t Hurt Your Back
Exercises That Won’t Hurt Your BackExercises That Won’t Hurt Your BackExercises That Won’t Hurt Your BackExercises That Won’t Hurt Your Back
Strengthen your back to prevent injuries.
Start Slideshow
What Sex Positions Are Best for Men Who Have Back Pain?
What Sex Positions Are Best for Men Who Have Back Pain?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.