What Are Some of the Risks of Spinal Cord Stimulation?


Quick Answer

Risks of spinal cord stimulation include fibrosis around the electrode, hardware failure, infection, leakage of spinal fluid and headache. Other risks include bladder issues. Additionally, continuous use of this technique makes it less effective. An implanted stimulator makes it impossible for a person to have MRI tests, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

Spinal cord stimulation is a type of electrical nerve stimulation technique. This procedure causes a tingling feeling. It involves an outpatient procedure in which the doctor implants a permanent stimulation device beneath the skin. The doctor and patient determine the best pulse strength. The doctor instructs the patient on how to use the stimulator at home. Patients with medical conditions that cause severe and chronic pain such as failed back surgery syndrome, nerve-related pain and complex regional pain syndrome also opt for spinal cord stimulation to reduce pain, states WebMD.

Advantages of a spinal cord stimulation include the possibility of testing a patient's response before inserting a permanent implant and the possibility of resuming normal activities such as travelling and swimming with the inserted implant. However, it fails to address the source of pain and involves a surgical procedure that has potential complications and risks. A patient can also react to the implanted material, according to Spine-health.

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