T echnical Description

Sarah Alsilwi

The Healer of Chronic Pain   Pg. 3

History of Neurostimulation Pg. 3

Technical Description & How it Works Pg. 4

Risks of Neurostimulator Pg. 5

Biomedical Success Pg. 5

Figures Pg. 6

The Healer of Chronic Pain  
Neuropathic pain is a state of intractable chronic pain in the legs, arms or back. This recurring   pain is truly debilitating to patients, leaving them unable to carry out simple duties such as   walking, lifting things, sitting for long periods of time, an d many more minor customary   activities. A Neurostimulator or Implantable Pulse Generator (IPG) or Spinal Cord Stimulator is   a device that extraordinarily relieves such chronic pain. The Burst DR stimulation, found only at   St. Jude Medical is the latest advancement in neurostimulation. "​BurstDR stimulation has been   clinically proven in numerous studies around the world to provide superior pain relief compared   to other traditional neurostimulation therapy."  

History of Neurostimulation  
The earliest form of neurostimulation occurred in Mesopotamia. Electrical torpedo fish would   shock the human body stunning the nervous system and subsequently numbing it of all pain,   causing therapeutic relief. This application was usually used on those suffering from headaches  or arthritis. Ancient Egyptian and Roman physicians, have also used torpedo ray shocks to heal   ceaseless pain, this being the most primitive form of neurostimulation therapy. Implanting   electronic devices that influence the function of the nervous system began in the 1960s as a result   of data ga thered from historical forms of neuromodulation. The innovator of the neurostimulator,   Clyde Norman Shealy, is a neurosurgeon who specializes in pain medicine. He implanted the   first device in 1967.  

Technical Description & How it Works  
The neurostimulator is a mechanism in which three parts work together to operate. The   generator, the leads, and the controller. The generator is a small device, equivalent to the size of   a stopwatch, which induces pulses that travel to the brain and halt pain signals. The device is   surgically implanted in the buttock area or lower back (See Figure 1.1). The leads are thin wires attached to the   generator, and placed on the spinal column along the epidural part of one's spine. The generator   sends electrical pulses to the leads which deliver them alon g the spinal cord to the brain (See Figure 1.2). The   controller is like a remote controller which the patient keeps at hand when they would like to   be gin the stimulation or whenever they're in pain. The neurostimulator modifies pain messages   before they reach the brain. It is rechargeable, so one must press their skin where the generator is   placed. Next, the recharger is moved to the area right above the neurostimulator, attached to a   belt around the waist. Then, a green button on the charger must be pressed to begin charging the   SCS (Spinal Cord Stimulator).  

Risks of Neurostimulator  
There are a few risks that come with the operation of implanting a Spinal Cord Stimulator. First,   an infection or an allergic reaction can occur. If a mistake happens during operation, another risk   would be spinal fluid leakage, leading to Intracranial Hypotension or absolutely unbearable   headaches. A major risk that, to some patients, acts as a strong reason to reject such an operation,   is permanent paralysis after surgery. The (IPG) revolves around the spine and often times, the   result of spinal cord injury is paralysis. Other risks that correlate to the stimulator itself include;   the leads moving or being damaged requiring a follow-up surgery to reposition them.   Over-stimulation can also occur, leaving a patient in even more pain. Lastly, once done with the   operation, the stimulator may have poor con nection and an unfortunate risk would be that the   therapy completely doesn't work.  

Biomedical Success  
Although it carries several risks, the surgically implanted neurostimulator has proven to alleviate   severe chronic discomfort. The electrical pulses that travel on the leads to the brain, modify the   journey of pain signals, a revolutionary way to treat