In spinal cord stimulation, soft, thin wires with electrical leads on their tips are placed through a needle in the back near to the spinal column. The leads are placed through a needle inserted in the back (no incision is required). A small incision is then made and a tiny, programmable generator is placed in the upper buttock or abdomen (under the skin) which emits electrical currents to the spinal column.
The generator can be programmed in a way similar to using a remote control to adjust the television. The area or intensity of electrical stimulation can be changed, and the system can be turned on and off or adjusted as necessary to provide optimal pain relief.
Although programming is initially done at the physician's office, patients can learn how to control the stimulation on their own and adjust it to their pain levels.