How to Prepare for a Spinal Cord Stimulator

How to Prepare for a Spinal Cord Stimulator

A spinal cord stimulator is a device used to send low-level electrical currents to targeted points along your spine to treat significant and chronic back pain. Although it’s an outpatient procedure, there are still a few steps you’ll need to take to prepare for your appointments and ensure successful treatment. 

Our team of pain management doctors and specialists at Republic Spine and Pain offer several treatment options in Austin, Georgetown, and Leander, Texas.

How does a spinal cord stimulator work?

A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is implanted under the skin to help manage chronic back pain. It works by delivering electrical impulses to a targeted area of your spinal cord, depending on where you’re experiencing pain. 

The electrical pulses disrupt the pain signals before they reach the brain.

There are a few steps involved in placing a spinal cord stimulator — a trial phase to test the device and the implantation phase.

For the trial phase, our team will place temporary leads (small wires) into the epidural space to determine the best location for the permanent leads. 

Then, the permanent leads are implanted into the epidural space through a small incision in your back. 

You’ll be sedated with local anesthesia to minimize any pain and discomfort during the procedure, which usually takes less than an hour.

Placement of the pulse generator

Once the leads are in place, a small, battery-powered pulse generator is implanted under the skin near your buttocks or abdomen. 

After the procedure, our team will program the device to deliver the right amount of stimulation for your individual needs. You may need to make adjustments to the settings over time, depending on your pain levels.

The SCS procedure is considered safe and effective for managing chronic pain, but it’s essential to prepare and follow our team’s instructions carefully and report any issues or concerns before and after the procedure.

How to prepare for your spinal cord stimulator

Once you’ve decided to move forward with your spinal cord stimulator, our team will give you detailed instructions and provide you with the information needed to prepare for the procedure, as well as what to expect after it’s implanted.

Medication review

Your doctor will review your current medications to determine if you may need to adjust or stop certain medications before the procedure.


Before the procedure, our team will provide you with information about what to expect during the procedure as well as your aftercare. 

Lifestyle adjustments 

In the weeks leading up to the procedure, you may need to make some lifestyle adjustments, like quitting smoking or losing excessive weight.

For more information about spinal cord stimulators and pain management services available at Republic Spine and Pain, contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our three convenient locations in Austin, Georgetown, and Leander, Texas.

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