Spinal cord stimulation is a minimally invasive procedure that surgically implants a special device into the spine for chronic back pain relief. This procedure is typically recommended for patients who have not experienced sufficient relief from interventional pain therapies, such as steroid injections, nerve blocks, and radiofrequency ablation. In some instances, spinal cord stimulation is a treatment option for patients who suffer from failed back surgery syndrome (FBBS). To determine whether a patient will benefit from spinal cord stimulation, a trial device is implanted several weeks before the final procedure. If the trial is successful, Dr. Clark Metzger of NeuroMicroSpine will move forward with the permanent implantation.
During the procedure, Dr. Metzger makes a small incision in the middle of the patient's back to expose the spine. A portion of the bony arch in the patient's spine is removed to create space for the stimulator's leads. Next, Dr. Metzger sutures small wire leads along the epidural space located above the spinal cord. The patient is awakened to test the stimulation settings to ensure adequate pain relief. Once Dr. Metzger has received quality feedback from the patient, he'll place the patient under sedation and make a second incision in the abdomen or buttocks for the pulse generator. Finally, the incisions are closed, and the patient is sent to a separate room to recover.
Because this is an outpatient procedure, patients will typically be sent home to heal the same day. The generator will be programmed with the appropriate settings, and Dr. Metzger will provide the patient with discharge instructions. Making certain movements, like bending, twisting, or stretching, as well as driving, performing housework, and engaging in sexual activity should be avoided for up to six weeks. After the appropriate recovery period, patients may return to certain activities. Dr. Metzger may recommend physical therapy after the allotted healing time to ensure an optimal post-surgical outcome. Patients who experience increased pain, bleeding, fever, or signs of an infection after their procedure should report these symptoms to Dr. Metzger immediately.