Back Pain

Complications of Spinal Cord Stimulation

A spinal cord stimulator which is an electric device has to be implanted into the back in order to deal with the nerve impulses that cause pain. The stimulator makes use of electricity to send impulses to the spinal cord and tackle the pain. But,

spinal cord stimulation

comes with its share of complications. No system in this universe is ideal and the same applies to the stimulator.

Complications of Spinal Cord Stimulation:

Though generally safe and extremely pain relieving, the stimulator comes with its complications. The complications may arise during or after the surgery. Let us observe some of the most common complications and also a list of all possible complications. These complications though uncommon should be known to people who possess these stimulators.

  • Increase in Localized Pain:

    Post the implantation of the stimulator, the back would take a while to get used to the implant. This can lead to an increase in back pain for at least 2 weeks.

  • Paralysis:

    People who have genetic clotting problems should be extra careful if they are to get implanted. For any leakage of blood into the spinal canal would squeeze the spinal cord leading which would lead to paralysis. Also, the bladder and bowel functions could be affected. A surgery would be required to correct the bowel and bladder problems but, the damage to the spinal cord cannot be reverted.

  • Leaking of Spinal Fluids:

    There is every chance for the leakage of spinal fluids around the implant spot. Leakage of spinal fluids lead to persistent headache. taking non-carbonated caffeine drinks while lying flat can lessen the headache. If the ache persists, it is important to see a doctor immediately for a surgery could be required to stop the leakage.

  • Infections:

    In order to insert the stimulator, there would obviously be an incision made in the back. This can cause infections around the vertebrae or the spinal cord.

  • Nerve Damage:

    Due to the implanted electrodes and needles the nerves in the spinal cord could suffer a damage and can lead to paralysis.

  • Pneumothorax:

    It means lung collapse. Insertion of needles into the upper back can cause a lung collapse.

  • Allergic Reactions:

    Due to the dye or medications used while performing the surgery there can be allergic reactions. Especially, an

    Anaphylactic reaction


    can be dangerous, sometimes fatal.

  • Seroma:

    A fluid around the spot where the device is planted. This fluid can persist for several months in the back and can cause infection. The stimulator would have to be removed if there is any infection. Upon suspecting any fluid, it is important to see the doctor to get it drained.

  • Failure of the Device:

    Since the device is electric and exists internally, any technical problem within can render the device useless.

Spinal cord stimulation

is an excellent process to relieve chronic back pains, but one should be aware of the repercussions of the above magnitude. But, the best part is that these side effects are quiet uncommon.

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