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Spinal Cord Stimulator Reviews

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Spinal cord stimulator reviews — what to look for

Like other medical procedures, there are many spinal cord stimulator reviews online that can help patients gain a better understanding of what to expect from all aspects of treatment. From the trial period to the surgical procedure to the recovery phase and beyond, it’s natural to want to gauge other peoples’ experiences if you’re considering this form of therapy yourself. If you see that a lot of people have found relief from chronic back pain and other issues with a spinal cord stimulator, it can be a good indicator that it could work for you.

The most important thing to remember when reading spinal cord stimulator reviews is to not make a decision based off of one or two reviews. This is especially true of negative reviews. The fact is that there is evidence supporting positive outcomes for spinal cord stimulator procedures in a majority of cases, so any reviews reporting complications or inadequate pain relief will represent a significantly smaller sample.

Reviews should also only represent one element of the data you use to make a decision about getting a spinal cord stimulator. You should also fully examine the practice and surgeon as well as the specific type of surgical procedure and device. To help you reach an informed and confident decision, we’ve created the following guide to what to look for from spinal cord stimulator reviews as well as how to weigh reviews against other factors.

What to consider when reading spinal cord stimulator reviews

When going online to read reviews for any prospective treatment, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I getting reviews from multiple sources? The goal is to get as wide a range of reviews and perspectives as possible while still staying relevant to your situation. If you are reading reviews on one forum or website, it may be beneficial to find out what the sponsoring organization is. Getting reviews from multiple sources can help you filter out bias and better identify larger trends. 
  • Does the person writing the review have the same or similar condition as me? While spinal cord stimulators share a basic function by sending electrical currents directly to the spinal cord, they can treat a wide range of symptoms and conditions, from failed back surgery syndrome to heart pain. To get the most accurate sample, try to find reviews by patients who were treated for the same or similar diagnosis as the one you have.
  • Are you reading spinal cord stimulator reviews for your recommended surgical procedure or device? Similarly, if you are farther along in the process and have been recommended for a specific procedure and spinal cord stimulator device, try to narrow your reviews to that particular procedure and do some research on the specific device.
  • What is the overall reputation of the surgeon or facility in the review? You should be trying to identify trends whenever possible and not let one negative or positive review sway you in one direction or the other. If you read a bad or glowing review for a prospective facility, try to follow up by doing as much research as possible to see if this review is representative of a normal outcome.
  • What other contributors may have led to a positive or negative outcome? Spinal cord stimulators can be effective, but they are also just one part of the treatment puzzle. For example, chronic back pain sufferers should also be focused on lifestyle changes that include posture improvement, nutrition and regular exercise. Many patients also require pain medication to some degree and may be wanting to lessen their dosage. Often, a spinal cord stimulator can offer the relief needed to make these changes when they were not previously possible. When reading spinal cord stimulator reviews, it is important to determine whether the writer is taking these other contributors into account. Was the patient able to achieve lifestyle goals and reduce pain med dosage?

Ultimately, reading spinal cord stimulator reviews can provide perspective and give you a better idea of what to expect from the procedure and process, but it shouldn’t be the primary factor for making a decision.

Other considerations for choosing a spinal cord stimulator

Undergoing any type of surgery, even a minimally invasive procedure, is a very important decision and should be made on as informed a basis as possible. When researching spinal cord stimulator procedures, take some time to research the following:

  • The surgeon — Spine surgeons should have specific experience for the procedure you are undergoing as well as any appropriate education, fellowships and certifications. Always look into the reputation of a prospective surgeon and don’t be afraid to ask around. 
  • The facility — Spinal cord stimulator surgery is a minimally invasive procedure, which means it can be performed on an outpatient basis at an ambulatory surgery center. These facilities can offer reduced exposure to hospital-based infections as well as reduced costs. When researching facilities, look for centers that are patient-focused, well-lit and have appropriate accommodations and certifications for the industry.
  • The device — There are many different spinal cord stimulator devices on the market that may be beneficial to treating a specific condition or offer features. Try to find out which device your surgeon is planning to use during the surgical procedure. Do some research to find out if there are any drawbacks to this type of device or if it is recommended for a particular condition, such as chronic back pain or failed back surgery syndrome.

When working with a potential surgical provider, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You should feel comfortable getting the information you need to make a confident decision. Feeling rushed or pressured is almost always an indicator to look elsewhere for your treatment needs.

Spinal cord stimulator surgery at USA Spine Care 

At USA Spine Care, our dedicated team is passionate about providing the highest level of patient-centered care to everyone who comes to us for relief. Our state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery centers are staffed by expert and highly experienced surgeons who have been performing surgical procedures for spinal cord stimulators for years. We want to help you find the relief you need to get back to the healthy and active lifestyle you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about our procedures, facilities and surgeons.

Call toll free 1-866-249-1627.

Spinal Cord Stimulator - People Also Ask

Spinal cord stimulator implants are covered by Medicare and are billed under:

  • Percutaneous Leads and Extensions
    63650 Percutaneous implantation of neurostimulator electrode array, epidural
    63661 Removal of spinal neurostimulator electrode percutaneous array(s), including fluoroscopy, when performed
    63663 Revision including replacement, when performed, of spinal neurostimulator electrode percutaneous array(s), including fluoroscopy, when performed
  • Paddle Leads
    63655 Laminectomy for implantation of neurostimulator electrodes, plate/paddle, epidural
    63662 Removal of spinal neurostimulator electrode plate/paddle(s) placed via laminotomy or laminectomy, including fluoroscopy, when performed
    63664 Revision including replacement, when performed, of spinal neurostimulator electrode plate/paddle(s) placed via laminotomy or laminectomy, including fluoroscopy, when performed
  • Stimulators
    63685 Insertion or replacement of spinal neurostimulator pulse generator or receiver, direct or inductive coupling
    63688 Revision or removal of implanted spinal neurostimulator pulse generator or receiver
  • Analysis and Programming
    CPT codes 95970–95973 are used to report electronic analysis services. These are not considered medically necessary when provided at a frequency more often than once every 30 days. More frequent analysis may be necessary in the first month after implantation.

Published studies of spinal cord stimulation show good to excellent long-term relief in 50 to 80% of patients suffering from chronic pain. One study reports that 24% of patients improved sufficiently to return to gainful employment or housework with stimulation alone or with the addition of occasional oral pain medication.

Unlike a spinal fusion, a spinal cord stimulator surgery is reversible. If a patient decides at any time to discontinue, the electrode wires and generator can all be removed.

Spinal Cord Stimulation is an option for those suffering from chronic, intractable pain of lower back and/or limbs including unilateral or bilateral pain associated with the following conditions:

  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)
  • Radicular pain
  • Post-laminectomy pain
  • Multiple back surgeries resulting in continued or worsening pain
  • Unsuccessful vertebral disk surgery
  • Degenerative Disk Disease
  • Peripheral causalgia
  • Epidural fibrosis
  • Arachnoiditis
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Causalgia

No surgery is without risks. General complications of any surgery include bleeding, infection, blood clots, and reactions to anesthesia. Specific complications related to SCS may include:

  • Undesirable changes in stimulation (can possibly be related to cellular changes in tissue around electrodes, changes in electrode position, loose electrical connections, and/or lead failure)
  • Epidural hemorrhage, hematoma, infection, spinal cord compression, and/or paralysis (can be caused by placing a lead in the epidural space during a surgical procedure)
  • Battery failure and/or battery leakage
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak
  • Persistent pain at the electrode or stimulator site
  • A pocket of clear fluid (seroma) at the implant site. Seromas usually disappear by themselves but may require a drain.
  • Lead migration, which can result in changes in stimulation and reduction in pain relief
  • Allergic response to implant materials
  • Generator migration and/or local skin erosion
  • Paralysis, weakness, clumsiness, numbness, or pain below the level of implantation

In a spinal cord stimulator trial, temporary electrodes are placed and then the patient uses an external device to generate electrical current. The electrodes are placed under x-ray guidance with the patient lying on his belly. A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin and deeper tissues. The electrical wire or lead contains a series of four to eight evenly spaced electrodes that can be programmed to generate an electrical field. A spinal cord stimulator trial period is at least 5 to 7 days. This gives you time to test the device and evaluate its effectiveness managing your pain at rest and during activity

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