Are you living with chronic back pain that is just not getting better? You may have heard about a revolutionary new device called a spinal cord stimulator that can offer lasting relief. But what does the procedure involve and how long does it take to recover? In this blog post, we’ll go over exactly what you can expect when getting a spinal cord stimulator implanted so that you’re fully prepared for this potentially life-changing treatment.
Overview of Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant Surgery
A spinal cord stimulator implant is a medical device that is surgically implanted under the skin and sends mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord. The device consists of a small generator, which is usually placed under the skin near the buttocks or abdomen, and one or more leads, which are placed in the epidural space of the spine. The generator produces electrical impulses that travel through the leads and stimulate the nerves in the spinal cord, which can help block pain signals to the brain.
Spinal cord stimulator implants are used to treat chronic pain conditions, such as back pain, leg pain, and nerve pain, that have not responded to other treatments, such as medication or physical therapy. The electrical stimulation can provide pain relief, reduce the need for pain medication, and improve quality of life for some patients.
Before considering a spinal cord stimulator implant, a thorough evaluation by a medical professional is necessary to determine if the procedure is appropriate and safe for the patient. The patient must also have a trial stimulation period to determine if the spinal cord stimulator provides adequate pain relief. If the trial is successful, the implantation surgery is scheduled. The implantation surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia and takes a few hours.
What to Expect Immediately After the Procedure
Immediately after spinal cord stimulator implant surgery, you will be taken to a post-operative recovery area where you will be monitored closely by medical staff. You may feel groggy from the anesthesia and experience some pain at the site of the incision, as well as discomfort in your back or leg. You may also have a dressing or bandage over the incision site.
Your medical team will monitor your vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing, to ensure that you are stable and recovering well. They may also provide you with pain medication to manage any discomfort or pain you are experiencing.
Most patients are able to return home the same day after their procedure. However, you may be required to stay in the hospital for a day or two to allow the medical team to monitor your recovery and adjust your medication as needed. During this time, you will be instructed on how to care for your incision site, such as keeping it clean and dry and changing the dressing if necessary.
Before being discharged, your medical team will provide you with instructions on what to do and what to avoid during your recovery period. It is essential to follow these instructions carefully to ensure a successful recovery and minimize the risk of complications.
What to Expect During Recovery
Spinal cord stimulator implant recovery is an important part of the treatment process, as it helps ensure the patient’s safety and improves the likelihood of a successful outcome. Recovery from spinal cord stimulator implant surgery can take several weeks, and patients must follow their doctor’s instructions carefully to promote healing and prevent complications.
During the recovery period, patients may experience some discomfort, swelling, and bruising at the incision site. Pain medication and ice packs can help alleviate these symptoms. Patients may also need to limit their physical activity and avoid lifting heavy objects for several weeks after surgery to allow the wound to heal properly.
To prevent infection, patients should keep the surgical incision clean and dry. Patients should also avoid swimming or soaking in water until the wound has fully healed. Additionally, patients should avoid exposing the incision site to direct sunlight until the wound has completely closed to prevent scarring.
In some cases, patients may require physical therapy to help regain mobility and strengthen the affected area. Physical therapy may include exercises to improve range of motion, flexibility, and strength.
During the recovery period, patients should attend all follow-up appointments with their doctor to ensure that the device is working correctly and to monitor their progress. The doctor may also adjust the device’s settings to ensure the patient is receiving optimal pain relief.
It is essential for patients to follow their doctor’s instructions carefully during the recovery period to promote healing and avoid complications. Patients should contact their doctor immediately if they experience any concerning symptoms, such as fever, increased pain, or drainage from the incision site.
Preparation & Recovery Tips
Here are some easy ways to make your recovery easier:
- Follow pre-operative instructions: Patients should follow all pre-operative instructions provided by their doctor or surgeon. These may include fasting before surgery, stopping certain medications, and arranging for transportation to and from the hospital.
- Prepare your home: Before surgery, you can prepare your home by eliminating tripping hazards, installing toilet risers and shower handles, and placing commonly used items in one area.
- Arrange for support: You should also arrange for support from family or friends during the recovery period. This can include help with household tasks, transportation to follow-up appointments, and emotional support.
- Meal plan/prep: Planning and preparing meals in advance can make it easier to stick to a healthy diet during the recovery period.
- Ask questions: Patients should ask their doctor or surgeon any questions they have about the procedure, recovery, and expected outcomes. Patients should also inform their doctor of any concerns or anxieties they have about the procedure.
By following these steps to prepare for spinal cord stimulator implant surgery, patients can help ensure a successful outcome and a smooth recovery.
Spinal cord stimulator implant surgery can provide significant relief for chronic pain. Understanding the procedure and recovery process can help you prepare for the surgery and improve your outcomes. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and seek medical attention if you experience any complications. With proper care and management, spinal cord stimulator implant surgery can help you achieve a better quality of life.