Patients experiencing chronic pain (greater than 6 months) who are not adequately responding other treatment, may be a candidate for spinal cord stimulation. This is usually evaluated by a practitioner versed in SCS therapy, typically a pain management physiatrist, anesthesiologist, neurosurgeon, or orthopedic spine surgeon. Insurance criteria must then be met, including specific medical diagnoses and ancillary testing such as psychological screening. Once payor approval is obtained, a Stage I trial may be performed in which percutaneous leads are temporarily implanted and an external stimulator is used, over the course of a week or so, to assess the pain relief achieved. The leads are then removed. If adequate efficacy was achieved, the patient is offered a permanent implant in a subsequent Stage II procedure.
The SCS generator device and permanent lead(s) are implanted in the Stage II procedure.