Spinal cord stimulation is used to manage chronic pain. Doctors implant a pulse generator that delivers an electrical pulse to the spinal cord. The electricity impairs the function of the nerve signals sent by the painful area to the pain.
Spinal cord stimulators are implanted in the back using sedation and local anesthesia. A trial run is done first using a small, temporary pulse generator. This type of percutaneous stimulator is a temporary pain-relieving device because it tends to migrate under the skin. If it works, however, a permanent spinal cord stimulator is implanted under the abdominal skin with wires passed around to the back and inserted in the spinal cord. This stimulator is considered more stable and can be used for years.