In long-term therapy, the spinal cord stimulation (also known as neurostimulation) system is placed under your skin during a surgical procedure.

What to Expect During the Procedure for a Neurostimulation System Implant

If you and your doctor decide to move forward with neurostimulation therapy to treat your chronic pain, the system will be implanted during a surgical procedure. This procedure is most often performed in a hospital or surgery center on an outpatient basis. You may even be able to return home on the same day as your procedure. However, some people stay overnight.

During your procedure:

  • You will be placed on an operating room table, probably on your stomach.
  • The medication you are given may make you drowsy.
  • Your doctor makes a small incision on your back and places the leads (medical wires) that deliver the stimulation into the epidural space of your spinal cord.
  • A second incision (about 2 to 4 inches long) is made where your doctor forms a pocket under the skin that is large enough to hold the neurostimulator.
  • Your doctor connects the leads to the neurostimulator.
  • Once the leads and neurostimulator are in position, the doctor closes the incisions and completes the surgery.
  • The procedure takes approximately 1 to 3 hours.

The length of your hospital stay will vary depending on your doctor’s preference and hospital procedures.

One Patient’s Experience With Surgery for Long-term Neurostimulation


Neurostimulation Therapy Since 2009
"I really wasn't nervous about having the surgery when I had the implant. I just wanted to get it over with because actually I knew how I felt about the trial period. And it went so well that I figured at this point, it could only get better. And I had no problems with it."

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