Talk with your doctor about your goals for treatment. If your doctor thinks you are a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation, you can complete a screening test to see whether spinal cord stimulation will provide adequate pain relief.Back to top
Your participation in the trial allows you and your doctor to evaluate whether you are a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation. The purpose of the trial is to determine your response to neurostimulation, if it reduces your chronic pain, if it helps you meet your goals, and whether a neurostimulation system is the right pain treatment for you.Back to top
The screening test period lasts approximately 3 to 7 days.Back to top
You will have local anesthesia when the leads are placed. There may be some occasional discomfort during the procedure and you may have pain at the incision site once the anesthesia wears off. You should not have pain or discomfort during the rest of the screening trial period.Back to top
Your clinician may reduce or withdraw your oral medication 1 to 2 weeks prior to the trial. During the trial, oral medication may be given for breakthrough pain. Never stop taking your prescribed pain medication without first consulting your clinician.Back to top
If the trial has been successful and you go on to receive the permanent system, your pain relief may differ slightly. This is because the leads may be in a slightly different location than during the trial. Be sure to tell your clinician about the way you feel so that changes can be made that will give you the best pain relief possible.Back to top
If you decide to proceed with spinal cord stimulation, in most cases there will be a waiting period after the trial and before your implant procedure. This will give the area in your back where the leads were placed time to heal, for your insurance provider to be notified, and for the surgery to be scheduled.Back to top
As you change positions, your pain may change. As a result of these changes in pain, your neurostimulation system may have to be adjusted to provide continued comfort.
Depending on the neurostimulator you and your doctor choose, you can either adjust the stimulation manually by using your programmer, or your neurostimulator will automatically adjust it when you change positions, using a technology called AdaptiveStim®. AdaptiveStim is available only from Medtronic, with the RestoreSensor® neurostimulator.
Typically, the implant of the neurostimulator is performed under general anesthesia. However, you may wish to talk with your doctor about other options.Back to top
Depending on your doctor's preference and hospital policy, a hospital stay may be recommended. However, the procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis, which means no overnight stay is required.Back to top
There are two incisions, both 2 to 4 inches long.Back to top
In rare cases, you may experience a "spinal headache." A spinal headache is caused when cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds your spinal cord) leaks out from the intrathecal or epidural space. This headache may correct itself, or your doctor may treat it.Back to top
In rare cases, spinal cord injury may occur from surgical placement of the lead.Back to top
No, because the incision needs to be made where the neurostimulator will be implanted to help properly anchor the device.Back to top
This depends on your specific condition and the results you received from the screening test. Your doctor will advise you of the recommended location.Back to top
The neurostimulator does not make any noise. The device does not normally show through your clothes. It is usually implanted in the lower abdomen or upper buttock, where it is most comfortable and least visible. It may be felt as a small bulge under your skin.Back to top
Yes. The screening test is designed to minimize the possibility that neurostimulation will not help manage your pain. If you no longer need the neurostimulator or change your mind about the treatment, your doctor can turn off or surgically remove the system at any time.Back to top
Many insurance carriers will pay for spinal cord stimulation. However, as with many pain treatments, your doctor will have to get approval from your insurance company before you can receive treatment. Consult your doctor or insurance carrier for more specific information.Back to top
Neurostimulators are approved for coverage by Medicare. Medicare will pay 80% of the cost as long as the procedure is determined to be medically necessary. Talk to your doctor about the Medicare Conditions of Coverage.Back to top
When you have an implanted electronic device, you have to be careful about MRI scans. The good news is that MRI scans are possible with Medtronic neurostimulation systems for chronic pain,* with proper safeguards. In fact, only Medtronic offers neurostimulation systems that allow safe** access to MRI scans anywhere in the body, under specific conditions.
* Excludes Itrel® 3
** Under specific conditions and requires SureScan® MRI implantable neurostimulator and Vectris® SureScan MRI leads
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.