What to expect during your Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial

You have been selected as an appropriate candidate for spinal cord stimulation therapy. Insurance authorization has been obtained and you are scheduled for the trial.

What Happens next?

SCS Trial

A SCS Trial involves placing temporary leads into your back and connecting them to an external battery. No incisions are made during the trial. This is NOT a surgery. The leads are placed using a small needle. The leads are then attached to the external battery. The trial is done at Twin Cities Surgery Center or Fairview Southdale Hospital, depending on your insurance.

  • You will receive IV sedation during the procedure and will need a driver. Do not have anything to eat or drink for 6 hours prior to your scheduled trial.
  • The trial is outpatient and you should plan on being there for 3-4 hours.
  • You will receive an antibiotic to prevent infection. Let your TCPC provider know if you have any allergies to antibiotics. Start this the day after the temporary leads are placed and take it for 10 days.
  • Do not shower or take a bath during the length of the trial. You may sponge-bathe only.
  • There are certain activities that should be avoided during the trial to prevent movement of the temporary leads, including bending at the waist, twisting, reaching overhead, and lifting more than 5 pounds.

Mid Trial Appointment

You will return to the clinic 2-3 days after your temporary leads have been placed. The purpose of this appointment is: 1) to check your leads insertion site and 2) to fine tune your stimulation. This appointment is necessary in order to adjust the settings on your device if needed for better pain control. There is often some swelling right after the leads have been placed which can interfere with stimulation coverage. The representative from the device manufacturer and the nurse will be present for this appointment.

Lead Pull Appointment

You will return to the clinic 1 week following your lead placement. The trial leads will be pulled by a nurse at TCPC. At this time, you will discuss the amount of pain relief you received during the trial. If you decide to pursue a permanent system, we will submit another prior authorization request to your insurance company for the implant.

If you have additional questions regarding your Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial, or other treatment options please call Twin Cities Pain Clinic 952-841-2345.