Spinal Cord Stimulator

Pain Management Services

What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?

An option for chronic pain relief, the spinal cord stimulator is an implanted neurostimulation device that inhibits the sensation of pain. If you’ve been unable to get relief from chronic back pain after trying different treatment methods, don’t give up. Dr. Ilana Etelzon is an expert in the field of up-to-date pain relief options, including the spinal cord stimulator.

For expert treatment of pain syndromes such as lower back pain, neck pain, pinched nerves, sciatica and musculoskeletal disorders in New York City, call Dr. Etelzon. She’s highly trained and experienced in the field of pain management and uses a non-operative approach to pain relief that includes minimally invasive procedures and a variety of regenerative therapies.

Am I a Candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Effective pain relief depends on expert evaluation of the cause of your pain. Your NYC doctor determines the best treatment for your pain based on a thorough examination and imaging studies. Conditions that may make you a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation include:

  • Chronic leg (sciatica) or arm pain: ongoing, persistent pain caused by arthritis, spinal stenosis, or by  nerve damage.
  • Failed back surgery syndrome: failure of one or more surgeries to relieve persistent leg or arm pain, but not a technical failure of the original procedure.
  • Non-surgical refractory back pain, when you are not a candidate for back surgery 
  • Complex regional pain syndrome: a progressive disease in which patients feel constant, chronic burning pain, typically in the foot or hand.
  • Arachnoiditis: painful inflammation and scarring of the protective lining of the spinal nerves.

Other: stump pain, angina, peripheral vascular disease, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injury.

Painful diabetic neuropathy; for patients whose pain is refractory to, or who can’t tolerate, conventional medical treatment.

Your doctor may recommend spinal cord stimulation if you’ve tried conservative treatment options for at least six months without relief and surgery isn’t a good option for you.

Spinal cord stimulator (SCS) procedures are medical interventions used to alleviate chronic pain and enhance quality of life for individuals who may have not responded effectively to other conservative treatments. An implanted device emits electrical impulses directly into the spinal cord, effectively blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. Before each procedure begins, a comprehensive evaluation process takes place in order to ascertain if a candidate for SCS exists – this evaluation typically involves reviewing medical history records, physical exams, imaging studies and various pain assessments. During the procedure, patients are administered local anesthesia as well as conscious sedation to relax them during surgery. Surgeons make a small incision at the area where electrode leads will be installed – thin wires with small electrodes attached at their tips – then guide these leads through epidural space until they arrive near spinal cord.

Who Performs The Procedure?

Neurosurgeons and doctors who specialize in pain management (an anesthesiologist or physiatrist) implant spinal cord stimulators. The surgical decision determining whether a spinal cord stimulator will be a good option for you is a two-step process. 

Stage 1. Temporary Trial 

For a temporary trial, you must see if the device decreases your pain level. An SCS trial is performed to determine if it will work for the type, location, and severity of your pain. The procedure is usually performed in an outpatient center or an office-based surgery suite. Before the trial, you must stop taking blood-thinning medications three to seven days in advance. Local anesthetics are used to numb the lower back area. An X-ray fluoroscopy is used to insert a hollow needle through the skin to reach the epidural space. Over specific nerves, the trial lead is inserted and positioned. Your skin is just taped over an external generator which is connected to the wires. It takes about 30 minutes to complete the procedure. You will be followed up on a daily basis by a representative, and it is important to keep track of how the stimulator affects your pain, sleep, function, and the need for pain medication.  The trial leads will be removed after 5 to 7 days, and you will discuss whether or not to go ahead with the implant. 

Stage 2. Surgical implant

SCS can be implanted into your body if you felt greater than 50% improvement in pain, sleep, or function after the trial. A minimally invasive procedure involves your doctor placing the device, which is similar in size to a pacemaker, under your skin. Depending on your comfort level, the implant may be placed in your lower back or buttocks. A two-hour implant procedure typically involves anesthesia or sedation to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. It is common for you to go home the same day, so you need to bring someone with you to accompany you home. There are a number of possible complications associated with minor surgical procedures, including anesthetic risks, infections, poor wound healing, and pain at the site of the procedure. Most of these issues resolve on their own or with medication within a few weeks or months after any procedure. It is extremely rare for complications to lead to serious injuries or even death, though they can occur in mild or temporary cases.

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Recovery After Spinal Cord Stimulator Procedure

If the device is implanted, complications may occur, including loss of pain relief, lead migration, allergy, and discomfort or pain from lead migration. In order to resolve these complications, the device can be reprogrammed, medically treated, corrected surgically, or removed altogether.

Recovery takes about four to eight weeks. It is recommended that you do light exercise during this time and avoid lifting heavy items, twisting, bending, climbing, stretching, and any movement that involves reaching over your head.

You can usually swim, travel, and resume your favorite activities after your recovery period with the approval of your doctor.

Spinal cord stimulators are covered by nearly all major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.

Contact Us Today!

Brooklyn Office
35 West End Ave PH1,
Brooklyn, New York 11235 | Directions
Phone | 718.682.3686

Spring Valley Office
17 Perlman Dr. #201
Spring Valley, New York 10977 | Directions
Phone | 844.373.2772

Newburgh Office
244 Broadway
Newburgh, New York 12550 | Directions
Phone | 844.373.2772

Jackson Heights Office
37-41 77th Street
Jackson Heights, New York 11372 | Directions
Phone | 718.682.3686

Clifton Office
1135 Clifton Ave #208
Clifton, New Jersey 07014 | Directions
Phone | 718.682.3686

Working Hours | Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
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What Should I Expect if I Get a Spinal Cord Stimulation Device?

A stimulator sends low levels of electricity to the spinal cord to relieve the sensation of pain. If you’re considered a good candidate, you can expect:

  • Trial run. A trial run is usually recommended that involves inserting thin wires attached to electrodes so that electrical pulses can be sent to contacts near the spinal cord. The trial lasts around five to seven days and you’ll be asked to track your level of pain relief. If there’s at least a 50 percent reduction in pain, you may qualify to have the permanent stimulator implanted.
  • Spinal cord stimulator procedure. Local anesthesia is used while the doctor implants permanent leads followed by general anesthesia to implant a generator in the abdominal or buttocks area. The procedure usually takes one to two hours. In most cases, patients are able to go home the same day.

Incisions may be painful for a few days and heal completely within two to four weeks. Your surgeon lets you know if there are limits to your activities and how soon you’ll be able to drive or return to work.

What is Diabetic Neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy refers to nerve damage due to untreated or long-term diabetes. It’s estimated that nearly one-half of people with diabetes suffer from peripheral neuropathy, which occurs when nerve damage affects your feet and your legs and sometimes, your arms and hands.

Peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common forms of diabetic side effects. Symptoms that you may experience include:

  • Infections, ulcers and bone and joint damage in your feet
  • Burning and tingling sensations in your feet or hands
  • Sharp cramps in your legs
  • Sensitivity to any touch, even lightweight bedsheets
  • Foot and hand numbness

Spinal cord stimulation is one of the most effective means of treating pain associated with diabetic and peripheral neuropathy. And Dr. Etelzon brings extensive experience with this procedure to bear for you if that’s what has been determined to be the best option.

In New York City, Dr. Ilana Etelzon is committed to providing patients with the best pain relief treatment options. Contact her team to schedule an appointment today.

Patient Testimonials

Patient Doctor Relationships Based on Trust

  • Dr. Etelzon always makes sure you are comfortable and leave her office with less pain you came in. She gets to the root of the problem. She's friendly. Clean office environment. No long waits, efficient visit. Highly satisfied with my treatment plan.
    Jacqueline Rodriguez Patient
  • Doctor Etelzon is very knowledgeable and really cares about her patients. She will take her time to discuss patients problem, answer questions and use her expertise to help. Dr. Etelzon maintains a friendly , clean , and efficient office environment.
    Narik Fuzailov Patient
  • Helped me with my pain! Great bedside manner. Highly recommend this doctor.
    Anonymous Patient
  • Dr.Etelzon is very knowledgeable and caring and has hands of hold! She was so thorough in her examination and really sees and hears the patient and determines a customized treatment. Thank you, Dr.Etelzon!
    Anonymous Patient
  • Dr. Ilana Etelzon thank you for your help, you have golden hands. Very attentive and knowledgeable doctor. The office staff is friendly and kind, you girls are beautiful.
    Valeriy Shek Patient (Google Review)
  • Dear Doctor Etelzon, Thank you again. I am starting to feel more like myself again...I couldn't say the problem is totally gone, but a big weight has been lifted...Today...I decided to go and do my nails which I did not do for a long time after the incident. I also asked my daughter if we could go to the park. These are things I normally enjoy but forgot about them for a few months now.
    Anonymous Patient
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