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Working of Spinal Cord Stimulation System

Apr 07, 2017

Working of Spinal Cord Stimulation System

Spinal Cord Stimulation System (SCS) is a medical device which is used to send electrical signals in form of pulse to the spinal cord. SCS is most commonly used to treat failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) and peripheral ischemic pain. It is a useful device to reduce pain in cases other therapies fail and is effective in 50-70% of the cases. However its interaction with pacemakers or MRI or diathermy or therapeutic USG may result in serious injury or even death. Complications with SCS include haematomas, CSF leak, post dural puncture headache, paraplegia, seroma etc. Other common diseases in which SCS is used includes arm pain or sciatica caused by spinal stenosis or arthritis or damage of nerves, complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy- a progressive nerve disease in which there is burning pain in hands and feet, arachnoiditis- inflammation and scarring of meninges of spinal nerves with pain, spinal cord disease, peripheral vascular disease, stump pain.

SCS consists of a pulse generator with remote controls, conducting wires and implanted stimulating electrodes.Patients who need SCS treatment must meet the following criteria:

  • The patient has a diagnosed disease which can be addressed by SCS.
  • The patient treatment is a failure through conservative therapy.
  • There are no pertinent psychological issues
  • A trial with SCS has shown there is pain relief to the patient
  • A 5 to 7 day trial period of stimulation after psychiatric evaluation is done and the trial is taken to be a success if there is more than 50% pain relief in the patient.

Latest Researches

SCS is gradually being considered for application in Parkinson’s disease. A recent research has shown that use of SCS in Parkinson’s can give successful results. Other researches are being done to develop smarter and power efficient microprocessor based devices which have larger battery lives.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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