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Learn How Spinal Cord Stimulators Provide Pain Relief After Failed Back Surgery

Unfortunately, back surgery doesn’t always provide the pain relief you expect. In some cases, the surgery itself can trigger new and often debilitating discomfort. This surgical failure is common enough that medical experts identify it as a syndrome with its own acronym – FBSS or failed back surgery syndrome.

The good news? Pain management physicians like our experts at Glaser Pain Relief Center combine extensive medical skills with innovative technology to successfully treat chronically painful conditions like FBSS.

Led by dual board-certified pain management expert Dr. Jeffrey Glaser and physical medicine/rehab specialist Dr. John Zheng, our team serves residents throughout the San Fernando Valley and Greater Los Angeles area from our office in Encino, California.

Read more about spinal cord stimulation and why it meets the high standards of our pain relief specialists for effective, minimally invasive care that’s in tune with your needs.

What is a spinal cord stimulator?

A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is a small implantable device that uses mild electrical impulses to modulate pain signals traveling from sensory nerves in your back to your brain. This interference alters the way your brain interprets pain messages from the involved nerves.

The result? When programmed appropriately, SCS can significantly reduce the back and leg discomfort related to FBSS and other chronically painful conditions.

The key to our high success rate is a comprehensive treatment program that starts with a thorough evaluation to accurately identify the underlying cause of your pain. Based on those results, we may recommend a trial of the SCS to relieve symptoms of FBSS.

What happens during the SCS trial period?

One of the benefits of SCS is the ability to offer a treatment trial before permanently implanting the stimulator. During this trial period of several days to weeks, you wear the small device comfortably on a belt. This allows us to adjust the signal strength and allows you time to judge its effectiveness.

If you choose to move forward with SCS, we schedule a quick in-office procedure for implanting the small pacemaker-sized device just under the skin, usually in the lower back area. We provide specific details before scheduling the procedure which generally takes less than an hour. The implant requires two small incisions that typically heal within a few days with only minimal aftercare.

Is SCS safe?

The SCS device was first approved for use by the FDA in 1989 as a safe and effective way to manage debilitating back pain. Advances in medical technology and procedural techniques since that time have greatly increased its effectiveness and safety profile.

The modern SCS systems we use include features that allow us to customize the impulses to match your individual requirements. The newest models also eliminate annoying side effects such as a tingling sensation (paresthesia) associated with early SCS systems. 

While we use several types of SCS systems, we often rely on Abbott’s Proclaim™ XR SCS system for excellent pain relief. It has a recharge-free battery that can last up to a decade when used on the low-dose settings.

Will I need treatment other than SCS?

We’ve earned a reputation here at Glaser Pain Relief Center for providing customized treatment plans that meet your individual needs and circumstances. Our high success rate is due to our team’s medical expertise and comprehensive approach to chronic pain.

Because ours is not a “one-fix-for-all” practice, your treatment strategy may include SCS to reduce pain related to FBSS as well as other therapies designed to restore strength, flexibility, and mobility as they reduce your risk of future injury and improve your overall quality of life.

For top-level care that’s designed to relieve chronic pain and get you moving pain-free again, schedule a visit with us at Glaser Pain Relief Center today.

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