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Monday, July 13, 2020

Surgery-Free Back Pain Relief

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What do you do when back surgery has not helped ease your pain?

In the U.S., nearly half a million back surgeries are performed per year. The success rates vary depending on the diagnosis and particular operation that is performed. After years of performing thousands of lumbar and cervical spinal surgeries, the end result is typically that the patient is pleased and obtains satisfactory relief of their pain levels between 70 and 80 percent. When an individual has back surgery and draws any level of relief, then the success rate of the operation and for the individual is 100 percent. If a procedure is performed and relief is not found, many patients return from their surgery and are not happy with their results, leaving that individual with residual pain and varying levels of disability.

Spinal Cord Stimulation is a modality that can be successfully employed to relieve the chronic back and leg pain that remains after unsuccessful back surgery. It can also be used primarily in certain circumstances to ease pain in individuals who are not ideal or qualified candidates for more invasive lumbar surgeries. In published studies, it is found that the overall success rate of Spinal Cord Stimulation – a two-step process – is around 60-80%.

First, a trial is performed in which the surgeon places one or two electrodes in the spinal canal through needles and the use of X-ray guidance. Once the leads are in place, the patient returns home and continues to “test drive” the system for a period of five to seven days. The leads are taped onto the patient’s back, and an external pulse generator stimulates the back portion of the spinal cord to block pain signals from reaching the brain. Following the trial period, if the patient feels 50 percent or more improvement in their back and/or leg pain, the device can be made permanent about 10 days later. The temporary trial leads, taped onto the patient’s back, are removed in the office regardless of the procedure’s level of success. The permanent implant is similar to a pacemaker, as it is a small battery that attaches to the leads and is placed under the skin, in the flank, above the buttock. Once the wounds from the implant procedure have healed, the device is turned on, and the patient, hopefully, is able to enjoy decreased or completely relieved pain.

The Spinal Cord Stimulator implant is much less invasive than traditional back surgery and is an outpatient trial.

This procedure is an option for many who are unaware of their options away from simply taking pain medications. Anyone who has had back surgery and is not content with their results after at least six months following the procedure is a candidate for this type of procedure.

In Shreveport, there are several physicians who offer this procedure. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms and history described, you are encouraged to visit a doctor and inquire if you are a candidate for the Spinal Cord Stimulator implant.

Powell B. Auer is an orthopaedic surgeon at Highland Clinic and specializes in surgery-free back pain relief. He and his staff utilize medications, physical therapy, injections and spinal stimulators to restore function and relieve pain for patients. Dr. Auer’s practice encompasses the treatment of most spinal disorders of all age groups including lumbar stenosis, cervical stenosis, sciatic nerve pain. He is accepting new patients and can be reached at (318) 798-4428; located at 1455 East Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, Shreveport, LA 71105. Visit https://www.highlandclinic.com/staff/p-britain-auer-m-d for more information.

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