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Spinal cord stimulation is used after nonsurgical pain treatment options have failed to provide adequate relief. Spinal cord stimulators may be used to treat or manage different types of chronic pain. This treatment is a great option for those who are experiencing chronic, debilitating pain symptoms, especially neuropathic pain.
If you are suffering and would like to return to a more active lifestyle while avoiding becoming dependent on narcotics, or a more invasive surgical alternative, this may be the best treatment option for you.
Patients selected for SCS usually have had chronic debilitating pain for more than 3 months in the lower back, leg (sciatica), or arm. They also typically have had one or more spinal surgeries. You may be a candidate for SCS if:
Trial stimulation is a “test drive” to determine if an SCS will work for the type, location, and severity of your pain. It is performed in an outpatient clinic or center.
A local anesthetic is given to numb the area in the lower back. Using X-ray fluoroscopy, a hollow needle is inserted through the skin into the epidural space between the bone and spinal cord. The trial lead is inserted and positioned over specific nerves. The wires are attached to an external generator that is secured to your back.
After 5 to 7 days, you will return to the doctor’s office for removal of the trial leads and to discuss whether permanently implanting the stimulator is the right option for you.
If the trial is successful and you felt greater than 50% improvement in pain, surgery can be scheduled to implant the spinal cord stimulator device in your body.
The electrode leads are inserted with the aid of fluoroscopy (a type of X-ray). The leads are usually placed through the skin, similar to the trial procedure and then tunneled under your skin for permanent placement. The leads are positioned in the epidural space above the spinal cord and secured with sutures. The leads do not directly touch your spinal cord.
Once the lead electrodes are in place, the wire is passed under the skin from the spine to the buttock, where the generator will be implanted.
A small skin incision is made below the waistline in your flank area. The surgeon creates a pocket for the generator beneath the skin. The lead wire is
attached to the pulse generator. The generator is then correctly positioned within the skin pocket. The incisions are closed with sutures and skin glue. A dressing is applied.
Dr. Hostetter is a nationally-recognized board certified, fellowship-trained anesthesiologist who built her career specializing in orthopedic and spine surgery with an expertise in regional anesthesia. She brings her expert needling techniques, along with her passion for innovative pain treatment strategies to the field of regenerative medicine, providing stem cell therapy in Seattle.
After earning her MD from the UCLA School of Medicine, Dr. Hostetter completed her anesthesiology residency at Virginia Mason Medical Center. After residency, she was awarded the Moore-Bridenbaugh Regional Anesthesia Research Fellowship, where she honed her interest and skill in pain management through training anesthesia residents and researching alternate ways to treat acute pain.
Regenerative Medicine and Joint Preservation
Dr. Hostetter settled in Seattle and has diligently worked to establish herself as an expert in regenerative cell therapy and joint preservation. Dr. Hosteter is committed to regenerative medicines ability to restore orthopedic function, rejuvenate mental and emotional vitality, and relieve pain without relying on opioid drugs.
“While I have a deep love for the practices of surgery and anesthesiology, I am excited to offer patients an alternative to surgery … a means to repair and restore themselves back to the life they want, doing what they love to do, without the pain and trauma of surgery. This is the direction all of medicine should be going … to help the body heal itself”