A combination of an Intellis™ screening and spinal cord stimulator trial can enable you to gain more control over treatments and gauge the overall effectiveness of the neurostimulator in relieving pain in your daily life.
Before undergoing this procedure, here is everything you need to know regarding the spinal cord stimulator implant trial.
Indications for Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation can be highly effective in treating a variety of chronic pain symptoms, but it is important to determine if this treatment is right for you before undergoing the trial. There are several indications for spinal cord stimulation that make it a worthwhile procedure, and they include:
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Diabetic neuropathy with pain
- Refractory angina
Any of these conditions can benefit from successful treatment through spinal cord stimulation.
Before undergoing the procedure, patients must first conduct a temporary trial that helps determine if the actual procedure will produce ideal results.
How the Trial Works
The trial is intended to closely resemble the results of the actual procedure without the need to implant the neurostimulator. The trial entails sending small electrical pulses via the temporary leads from the external neurostimulator to certain nerves in the spine. You can adjust the levels of stimulation using the wireless programmer.
The trial itself only takes around 30 to 90 minutes to complete and is performed in a day surgery center, hospital, or clinic. Thin wires called leads are placed close to the spine using a needle. The leads are then attached to the external wireless neurostimulator that stays on the back throughout the trial.
What to Do Before the Trial
Before beginning the spinal stimulator trial, you should discuss your individual therapy goals with your doctor. In the process, you can make a list of specific achievements you would like to make if the procedure is successful, such as making a long trip on foot without taking a break along the way.
In some cases, patients may be able to use a workbook to monitor pain levels and measure progress and improvement during the trial. In turn, this tracking can help patients and their physicians determine how well the trial is working to make appropriate adjustments to the therapy.
Testing the System
You may test the stimulator for up to 10 days, during which time you will be able to resume your normal daily life. If you experience a reduction of pain, you may want to try certain activities you normally wouldn't be able to complete because of the pain, whether it's standing in one place for some time, walking up or downstairs, or walking long distances.
Determining Whether the Spinal Cord Stimulator Is Right for You
Following the trial period, you can discuss the trial with your doctor and your overall experience. Depending on how well you responded to the trial, your physician may decide that it is OK for you to proceed with the actual procedure and schedule the surgery.
Like other procedures, there are potential complications that might occur throughout the trial, which may include:
- Epidural bleeding
- Other side effects
If you are aware of an existing infection before the trial, you should avoid the trial. Ask your physician if you have any additional questions regarding complications.
Why Choose the Pain Center?
At the Pain Center, we understand that people are individuals. We stay aware of the latest research to best understand individual causes for chronic pain, and then we treat every patient with a personalized approach to give them the best possible care. Dr. Sandra Thompson has 28+ years of experience and is an expert in managing chronic pain for back, neck, and body. Contact us today to make an appointment for a consultation with our pain specialists at The Pain Center.