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Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) system device support

How Spinal Cord Stimulator systems work

Image of Boston Scientific Spinal Cord Stimulator system.

SCS therapy works by interrupting pain signals before they reach your brain. This can help with pain relief—even when other therapies have failed. Learn about spinal cord stimulation, and how your implant can deliver personalized relief to help you get back to living your life.

What is chronic pain?

Your nerves and brain are constantly communicating with each other. When you feel pain, it’s because the nerves are sending a pain signal to your brain. The pain can be acute, and go away within a couple of months, as often happens after an injury. Or the pain can be chronic, which means that it lasts six months or longer. SCS therapy is designed to help treat chronic, ongoing pain.

How Does SCS Therapy Work?

SCS may sound complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple. SCS systems have a small implanted pulse generator, called a stimulator, and thin wires called leads. These are implanted into your body. The stimulator delivers tiny pulses of mild electric current through the leads to specific nerves on the spinal cord. These impulses mask pain signals traveling to the brain.

A remote control allows you to turn stimulation on and off, increase and decrease the level of stimulation, and target different pain areas in your body using settings or programs designed specifically for you. This stimulation does not get rid of what’s causing the pain. It changes the way the brain perceives it. SCS therapy may use a gentle tingling or fluttering sensation to replace the pain. Other forms of SCS therapy don’t cause any sensation at all. The amount of pain relief you feel is different for everyone, but the therapy is considered successful if it reduces your pain by at least 50%.

IS SCS Safe?

SCS therapy has been proven safe and effective. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have been treated with SCS. Boston Scientific SCS Systems are FDA-approved. There are potential risks involved with any procedure. Be sure to talk with your doctor about these risks.

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