The Stage I SCS trial is routinely performed under sedation. The physician makes one or more small incisions in the lower back under local anesthesia then inserts special needles into the epidural space within the spine. The leads are then inserted through the needles and threaded within the spine to the desired location under fluoroscopic visualization. The leads are then temporarily connected to an external generator and spinal cord stimulation trialed intra-operatively to ensure correct positioning of the electrode arrays. Once proper positioning is confirmed, the external generator is disconnected and the percutaneous leads are anchored to the skin. Bandages are applied.
The leads are then connected to an external generator and the system programmed to deliver the desired electrical current to the spinal cord.
This outpatient procedure will generally take 1 hour or less, followed by a stay in the post-anesthesia recovery room.
The Stage I trial typically lasts 4-10 days, during which the patient keeps a log of activity and pain levels. At the conclusion of the Stage I trial the leads are painlessly removed in the office setting. A decision is then made whether to proceed with Stage II implantation.