Spinal cord stimulator

Dr Ian Bickle et al.

A spinal cord stimulator is a surgically placed device to aid with symptom relief in individuals with chronic neurological pain resulting from, for example, post failed spinal surgery, brachial plexopathy, post laminectomy syndrome etc.)

It uses low voltage electrical current delivered by electrodes on the surface of the cord to prevent pain signal from reaching the brain. Underlying pathophysiology is not entirely understood, however, increase in levels of GABA and serotonin stimulated by an electrical pulse in the area of dorsal horns is one of the potential mechanisms 1.

Patients may feel a tingling sensation in the area of electrodes placement when the stimulator is on. Although it varies between individuals, generally it reduces pain sensation by approximately 60% 1.


  1. pulse generator with battery
    • produces low voltage electrical current
    • placed subcutaneously at the level of lower abdomen/pelvis or in the lumbar/gluteal area
    • the battery is rechargeable via external wireless power charger
  2. extension wires
    • joins the pulse generator with lead wires (usually running horizontally from the generator)
  3. lead wires with electrodes
    • number of the electrodes is variable, from 4 up to 16
    • located at the end (running vertically)
  4. external remote control
    • allows the patient to control pulses frequency

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Article information

rID: 52455
Tag: stub
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • dorsal column stimulator

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