This is a rapidly evolving and promising area of pain management. Spinal cord stimulators are advanced implantable devices that are being used to alleviate various pain conditions. Common applications include post-laminectomy syndrome pain, complex regional pain syndrome, neuropathic pain conditions, and vascular related pain. The procedure involves using fluoroscopic guidance for the placement of electrodes into the epidural space, attaching them to an external generator (in essence a battery coupled to a small computer), and carefully adjusting the electrical pulses to produce pain relief.
Initially, this is done as a “trial” to determine its effectiveness prior to permanent implantation. Permanent placement involves placing the generator just below the skin, usually in the abdomen or over the upper outer quadrant of the buttock (below the beltline).