Epidural Stimulator Implant
An epidural stimulator implant uses the natural nerve pathways in the body to monitor a patient’s pain. The system is intended to block pain from being processed in the brain with electrical pulses. Electrical leads are placed in the epidural space between the spinal cord and the vertebral wall.
Your doctor at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine may recommend an epidural stimulator implant if conservative, nonsurgical methods have been unsuccessful at relieving chronic pain in the back, neck, legs or arms.
A majority of patients have reported successful pain relief with the use of an epidural stimulator implant.
What is an Epidural Stimulator Implant?
Using an epidural needle, one or two electrical stimulating leads are guided into the epidural space. Your doctor will maintain continuous communication throughout the process to determine the most effective location for the placement of the leads. The electrical pulses created by the leads are intended to block the brain from processing pain by refocusing the nerve signals.
The initial implants are temporary and will be used for one to two weeks to determine if the system has been effective at alleviating pain. If the system is successful, a permanent epidural stimulator implant will be inserted. A small incision will be made in the upper buttocks and an implantable pulse generator (IPG) is inserted and connected to the leads. This device is responsible for keeping the implant running effectively and monitoring the pulse. Patients will be given a wireless programmer to personally control the stimulation levels of the epidural implant.
Results and Recovery
Following the procedure, patients may be asked to avoid excessive physical activities for six to eight weeks. Your doctor will discuss when specific, everyday activities, such as housework, can be reintroduced.
A majority of patients experience pain relief after two to four months of using an epidural stimulator implant. While the implant does not treat the condition causing pain, it can be an effective pain relief method. In some cases, your surgeon may recommend additional surgical treatment methods to determine the source of the pain.