The permanent implantation of a spinal cord stimulator system with a surgical lead is routinely performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon make an incision overlying the area where the electrodes were placed during the Stage I spinal cord stimulator trial based upon x-ray imaging. The spine is exposed by separating the overlying muscle. A small portion of bone (lamina) is removed to allow access to the spinal canal. The flat, paddle-shaped portion of the electrode array is slid between the bone of the spinal canal and the membrane (dura) covering the spinal cord. X-ray is used to confirm that the electrode location replicates that of the Stage I trial. The surgical lead is then anchored to the spine.
A separate incision is then made, typically in the flank, buttock, or abdomen, and a small pocket is made beneath the skin, to accept the implantable generator.
A tunneling "straw" is then passed between the two incisions and the lead wires are routed below the skin from the spine to the generator pocket. The lead wires are then connected to the generator and the generator is placed into the pocket. The electrical connections are then tested.
The muscle and overlying connective tissue is closed with suture. Each of the incisions are then closed and bandages are applied.
The surgical procedure will generally take 1-2 hours, followed by a stay in the post-anesthesia recovery room. You may be able to go home the same day, or may require a short hospitalization, at the discretion of your surgeon.
Please speak with your healthcare provider for more information.