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One of the advantages of SCS therapy is that the patient gets to “test drive” an external version of the device to see if spinal cord stimulation is an effective treatment for their pain. During the “test drive,” insulated leads are inserted through a needle or small incision in an anesthetized area near the spinal cord. As a part of the procedure, the patient may give the physician feedback on where to place the leads for maximum pain reduction.
Once your pain specialist locates the “sweet spot,” the leads are connected to an external trial stimulator that is tucked inside an external belt. The patient also gets a wireless remote control so they can increase or decrease the electrical impulses to reduce their pain. The external version is typically worn anywhere from a few days to one week. This trial period gives the patient the opportunity to decide if SCS effectively reduces their pain.