Living with a spinal cord stimulation (SCS) system

Your Boston Scientific SCS System is designed to help you get long-term pain relief in different parts of your body so you can get back to your daily activities and feel like yourself again.

Before you get an SCS system

Your first step is to try an SCS system and see if this type of treatment is right for you.

  • Talk to a pain management specialist. If you don’t have one, our Doctor Locator can help you find a specialist in your area
  • Test drive a Boston Scientific SCS System in a short three- to seven-day trial
  • If the results are successful, talk with your specialist about moving forward with a long-term implant

Getting your SCS system

Your doctor will cover everything you need to know to prepare for the implant procedure, including:

  • When to stop eating and/or drinking before the procedure (typically, several hours in advance)
  • Medications you should or should not take on the day of the procedure
  • What to wear to the procedure (typically, comfortable or loose-fitting clothing) 
  • Arranging for a family member or friend to drive you to and from the procedure

What is the procedure like?

The procedure, usually one to two hours, involves several steps:

  • You’ll undergo light sedation and a local anesthetic will be applied to the incision area
  • The leads are placed along your spinal cord
  • The leads are connected to the stimulator
  • The stimulator is implanted under your skin (usually the buttock area)
  • The doctor closes up the incisions and you’ll move to a recovery area where you’ll rest until you’re well enough to go home
  • Before you leave, you’ll receive instructions on postoperative care and how to use the remote control to adjust your therapy

When to call your doctor

Your healthcare team will give you specifics about when you should call them. In general, call your doctor if you:

  • Experience pain around the implant for more than two weeks
  • Notice a lot of redness around the wound areas (your doctor should be aware so he or she can check for infection or, in rare cases, a reaction to the implant)

After you receive your SCS system

Once you have your Boston Scientific SCS System, you may feel eager to get back to activities that may now be less painful. But recovering from any procedure takes time. Here are some general tips, but be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Using your SCS system*

Many people experience relief right away, but for some it may take some time to learn the most effective settings.

  • Take time to read all of the information provided by your doctor
  • Get comfortable with learning how to use the remote control for your SCS system
  • Talk with your doctor about your settings as they can be personalized to optimize your relief

Becoming active again*

In the first two weeks after your procedure, limit some activities as you heal. Do not:

  • Lift objects of more than five pounds
  • Do rigorous physical activity such as twisting, bending, or climbing
  • Raise your arms above your head if you had new leads implanted

What is life like with the implant?

Boston Scientific Clinical Care Specialist Kira Trexler shares her own experience of what life is like for her after getting the SCS implant.

Why choose
Boston Scientific?

Boston Scientific pain management solutions offer key advantages backed by solid clinical evidence. In particular, therapy that can be personalized to treat your unique pain may help you find relief other treatments have failed to provide.

Wondering if SCS may be right for you?

Take this quick quiz and find out. ⟶