Spinal Cord Stimulator with Dr. Roger Sung

Welcome to a Medical Minute segment with Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group’s Dr. Roger Sung discussing chronic pain management through the use of a spinal cord stimulator.

When a patient experiences chronic orthopaedic pain, what is the best option for patients?

As every orthopaedic case is unique, the physicians at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group work diligently to create individualized treatment plans for every patient beginning with a full evaluation to find the source of their chronic pain. From there, the physician will continue to develop a plan to best suit the patient’s specific needs.

What is a spinal cord stimulator?

A spinal cord stimulator is a battery-operated implant that sits along the spinal cord and aids in alleviating nerve tension by sending mild electronic pulses to the nerves. These pulses interrupt the transmission of pain signals to the brain and have shown great success in alleviating chronic pain. This procedure takes approximately one hour in our outpatient surgery center, The Orthopaedic Spine Center of Southern Colorado (OSCSC).

How do patients know if a spinal cord stimulator is the right option for them?

Depending upon the severity of each case, your physician may recommend trying a spinal cord stimulator before implanting a permanent stimulator. A spinal cord stimulator trial allows patients to test how well the stimulator will work to manage their pain, for a total of five days. If the patient sees significant pain relief, they and their physician will schedule a time to implant a permanent stimulator. As stimulator settings are adjustable to fit every patient’s needs, after this procedure, the patient is then introduced to and monitored by one of our spinal cord stimulator representatives, who will be their direct contact if any setting adjustments need to be made moving forward.

Doctor looking at spine x-rays in preparation for a spinal cord stimulator.

How customizable is a spinal cord stimulator?

After meeting with their spinal cord stimulator representative, patients are able to fully customize their device, independently choosing the intensity and schedule at which they prefer their device to operate at. With recent technological advancements, these adjustments can be made at the touch of their fingertips by utilizing an application on their phone. Patients will also receive a remote from which they can program their stimulator as well.

What is the success rate of a spinal cord stimulator?

Patients that respond well to this therapy are likely to see 50-75% improvement in their pain. These devices can last upwards of 10-25 years, while only requiring battery replacements as needed. Please contact your spinal cord stimulator representative or our office at 719-632-7669 if you are in need of a battery replacement.

How long does it take to fully recover from the procedure?

The surgical procedures for both trial and permanent stimulator implantations, are performed as outpatient surgeries and can be completed within approximately one hour. Patients can expect to recover from the procedures within 2-4 weeks. This timeframe can very case by case.

When is an intervention like a spine cord stimulator recommended?

Patients interested in spinal cord stimulators should consult with their physician about all chronic pain interventions, as each case is unique and may have a variety of treatment options available.

Our Spine Physicians:

Roger D. Sung, MD

Roger D. Sung, MD

Dr. Sung is a fellowship-trained and board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in cervical and lumbar surgery, microsurgery, and minimally invasive surgery.
> Roger D. Sung, MD

James M. Bee, MD

James M. Bee, MD

Dr. Bee’s interests include the full range of spinal disorders of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. Scoliosis and the treatment of spine shrinkage and fractures from osteoporosis are a couple examples.
> James M. Bee, MD

Paul Stanton, DO

Paul Stanton, DO

Dr. Paul Stanton is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with surgical expertise in all aspects of spinal surgery, including minimally invasive techniques and complex reconstructive techniques for the cervical spine, adult spinal deformity, and degenerative scoliosis.
> Paul Stanton, DO

Recent Articles