A neurostimulator is a small device that is implanted into the skin in the abdomen or upper buttock, describes Medtronic. The neurostimulator reduces chronic pain by disrupting the pain signals that travel through the spinal column. The intensity of the electrical charge and the area the neurotransmitter affects can be programmed to suit the needs of the patient.
A temporary external neurostimulator can be tested before an internal device is surgically implanted, explains Medtronic. A doctor can connect the external neurostimulator to the body in a process similar to an injection. The external neurostimulator is used to determine if a surgically implanted neurostimulator is a reasonable option.
The neurostimulator is a possible alternative to traditional pain relief medications, states Medtronic. A surgeon can remove the neurostimulator if it is no longer needed or wanted. The neurostimulator also targets a specific part of the body, unlike medications that circulate through the bloodstream and affect the whole body.
Neurostimulator technology does have potential risks, notes Florida Hospital. Some of the risks are damage to the nerves, infection caused by the implantation, movement of the implant in the body, cerebrospinal fluid leakage, interference with other electrical devices such as pacemakers, and nausea or dizziness.