Some people living with chronic pain are offered surgical procedures to help them with their pain.
In this section you will find information to help people considering surgery understand risks and benefits.
What is spinal cord stimulation?
"Stimulation of the spinal cord modifies patients’ experience of pain, by replacing the unpleasant sensation with parasthesiae that may be considered pleasurable. Spinal cord stimulator (SCS) systems deliver low voltage electrical pulses to afferent nerve fibres within the dorsal columns. Pulses are delivered via an electrode that is placed near the spinal cord, percutaneously or by surgical implantation. This electrode is connected to and powered by a neurostimulator device that is surgically implanted under the skin. The electrode must be carefully positioned so that the area of paresthesia overlaps that in which pain is experienced. The patient can turn the stimulator on and off as required, and may vary the stimulation parameters within limits set by the supervising physician" Get the fact sheet from the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists HERE.
What is targeted spinal cord stimulation?
A new stimulator has been discussed lately. It targets the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) which is a small bundle of nerves that send messages to your brain, involved in the production of pain. It controls when sensations can enter the spinal cord and there is one connected to every vertabra in your spine. DRG stimulation aims to make the DRG send messages to the brain to inhibit pain. The main pain indications are those that are focal in nature such as post knee surgery, groin pain following hernia repair, Complex regional pain syndrome and phantom limb pain. A slightly different technique and technology is used in order to place the electrodes over the Dorsal Root Ganglion
One-year outcomes of spinal cord stimulation of the dorsal root ganglion in the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain. HERE
More about dorsal root ganglion stimulation from the UK HERE
In the news 15 October 2015:
Patient fitted with world first spinal cord stimulator to treat chronic pain at Royal North Shore Hospital.