Frequently Asked Questions about Neuromodulation
How does neuro-stimulation work?
In general terms, the “neuro-stimulators” work by modifying or blocking unwanted signals traveling through the nerves and the spinal cord.
What can neuro-implantation treat?
The most widespread use is severe chronic pain that has not responded to any other treatment. Such pain includes low back, pelvic or foot pain; headaches, nerve injury pain and many other painful conditions. Implantation can also treat spasticity following a stroke or spinal cord injury, fibromyalgia and fecal incontinence.
Who is most likely to benefit?
Patients are referred to me from all over the country; most have tried just about every treatment available and have been told there was nothing else to do. Many have endured unbearable pain and resulting changes in life circumstances; some have even considered or attempted suicide, or have been abandoned by their spouse and friends. Every patient I see is deserving of the utmost respect and compassion.
A candidate for spinal cord stimulation and neuro-implantation must demonstrate a willingness to work with the implanting team and grasp an understanding of the procedure. We assess and encourage a support system for every candidate. The more support, the better.
What does the procedure feel like and are there side effects?
When the stimulation is activated, the patient feels a tingling sensation. In the case of pain, the tingling sensation might replace or reduce the painful sensation. Side effects are usually related to the fact that implantation of the device requires surgical intervention.
The battery has a life of 5 - 15 years so must be replaced when it stops working. It’s a 20-minute outpatient surgery.
What’s next for pain management and motor disorder technologies?
These fields are growing by leaps and bounds. As you know, new drugs are being tested all the time. Neuro-implantable technologies have a very bright future, since electrical stimulation does not have any of the side effects of drugs and, given the proper knowledge, can be applied to many chronic conditions. The miniaturization of the electronic circuitries is leading to smaller and smaller implanted devices. This increases their efficacy and acceptance by patients.