Spinal cord stimulation (also called neurostimulation) uses electrical impulses to relieve chronic pain of the back and legs. The first part of this procedure, the screening operation, is performed under local anesthesia. Insulated leads are inserted through an epidural needle into the space surrounding the spinal cord. Electrodes at the end of the leads transmit electrical pulses that stimulate the nerves and block pain signals. The leads are connected to an external trial stimulator, which will be used to determine the extent to which neurostimulation will help. If the screening test indicates that neurostimulation is effective in relieving pain, the system may be permanently implanted in a separate operation. In this procedure, permanent leads are inserted through an epidural needle, followed by a permanent, implantable stimulation device. The implant’s electrical pulses are programmed with an external wireless programmer.
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