Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant
A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) device is surgically placed under your skin and sends a mild electric current to your spinal cord. A small wire carries the current from a pulse generator to the nerve fibers of the spinal cord. When turned on, the SCS stimulates the nerves in the area where your pain is felt. Pain is reduced because the electrical pulses modify and mask the pain signal from reaching your brain.
Stimulation does not eliminate the source of pain, it simply interferes with the signal to the brain, and so the amount of pain relief varies for each person. The goal for spinal cord stimulation is a 50-70% reduction in pain. Stimulation does not work for everyone. If unsuccessful, the implant can be removed and does not damage the spinal cord or nerves. Generally, the spine surgery team does a trial run of the stimulator by keeping the implant outside the body. If the pain reduces, then only the device is implanted.