Spinal Cord Stimulation

03D30901Twenty six years ago the Food and Drug Administration gave the green light to spinal cord stimulation (SCS), a treatment for pain that uses a mild electrical current to block nerve impulses to the spine. The therapy seems to work well for those patients who haven’t found relief from traditional treatments – including surgery. Studies show that most patients who qualify for SCS report a 50 to 70% reduction in overall pain and they are able to return to normal activities. Researchers have also found many patients decrease or stop the taking painkillers or other medication following spinal stimulation.

“It’s rewarding helping people get pain relief.” said Jose Vitto, MD, an anesthesiologist and interventional pain management specialist at Indiana Spine Group, “That’s the best part of the specialty.”

Spinal cord stimulation is done in two steps to see if it helps your pain. First, a temporary battery-powered generator is inserted through the skin of your buttocks or abdomen. Tiny wires are placed under the skin to carry a mild current from the generator to nerve fibers of the spinal cord.  The generator is connected to a stimulator – about the size of a cell phone — that the patient controls. When turned on, pulses interrupt pain signals. Instead, you may feel a tingling sensation. Following the outpatient procedure, Vitto will work with you to determine the best pulse strength. If the trial run is a success, a surgeon will implant a permanent stimulator a few weeks later. Rechargeable battery systems can last a decade.

Since the FDA approved SCS nearly 3 decades ago, there have been ongoing studies and advancements in spinal stimulation and its impact on those who suffer from chronic pain. Vitto has watched the evolution of this field and is excited about the possibilities. “There’s new technology to do more, to have better outcomes,” said Vitto. “I feel that it’s the future of the specialty.”

To find out if you qualify for Spinal Cord Stimulation call ISG at 317-228-7000.


ISG Blog Team