Spinal stimulation

Treatment for chronic back pain through spinal stimulation

About spinal stimulation

Pain impulses are conducted by fine nerve fibres entering the back of the spinal cord at each vertebral level. With spinal stimulation, an implanted electrode stimulates the dorsal columns (nerve fibre bundles at the back of the spinal cord), to impair the transmission of the pain fibres and reduce or eliminate the pain.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    This procedure may be carried out under general or local anaesthetic, and you will be lying on your stomach. Spinal stimulators are electrodes attached to a wire connected to an implantable electrical pulse generator. The electrodes will be placed on the outer covering of your spine (the dura), either through a small incision or via a large bore needle. 

    Sometimes there will be a trial of the implanted electrode, connected to a box outside the body. If the pain is relieved, a battery powered generator will then be implanted in a pouch under the skin, either over the stomach or at the top of the buttocks. 
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the spinal stimulation procedure to you and answer any questions you may have. Because you may be having general anaesthetic, they'll let you know how long you should avoid eating and drinking before surgery.

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    When you have recovered from the surgery, your consultant will activate the device and give you a small hand control.

    The relief can vary from person to person. The aim is to achieve a 50-70% reduction in pain. A small reduction can be enough to improve your quality of life.

    Your consultant will monitor your progress and answer any questions you may have.
     

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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