Home Care after Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant
A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) was
implanted today to treat your pain. Carry
your spinal cord stimulation patient ID card
with you at all times. This card can be
shown if a security system is set off by your
SCS. This card will also identify you as a
recipient of SCS treatment in case of
For the first week, you may experience
discomfort and swelling at the incision site.
You can use ice for 20 minutes on and then
off 20 minutes. It is okay to use Tylenol to
ease this pain. Avoid aspirin which
increases bleeding. You can take your pain
medications as ordered by your doctors.
You will need to restrict your routines as
directed below so that the lead wires in your
back do not slip or fall out of place. If the
leads move out of place, you can lose
stimulation. It is possible that stimulation
may not be restored even with
reprogramming. Follow your doctors
instructions regarding driving, returning
to work and for how long you will need to
follow these restrictions. It can take up to
12 weeks for the leads to heal in place.
ξ Limit riding in the car to those trips
that are absolutely necessary.
ξ Do not raise your arms above your
ξ Do not twist, bend or stretch your
body at the waist. Use caution when
changing positions, i.e. log roll in
and out of bed, bend with your
knees. Do not make any sudden
ξ Do not lift items weighing more than
Site Care/Bathing and Showering
You will have and incision in your back
where the spinal cord stimulator was
implanted. This will be covered by a
bandage. You will need to take very good
care of the site to avoid infection or
bleeding. You will not be able to take a
bath or shower and will need to take a
sponge bath until your sutures/staples are
ξ Keep the area covered with the
bandage. If the bandage becomes
soiled, dislodged, or wet you will
need to call the Pain Management
ξ Check the site daily. Do not remove
the bandage. Reinforce your bandage
only if needed. Call if you have:
ξ Pus-like drainage.
ξ Fever (oral temperature over 100.4 F
or 38.0 C for two readings taken 4
ξ Site is red or warm to touch.
ξ Excessive swelling, bruising or
ξ Pain you cannot control.
Your spinal cord stimulator leads will take
time to heal in place. During this time your
stimulator program may need to be
adjusted. If you lose stimulation at any time
call the clinic. You should have follow up
visits scheduled in the Pain Management
UW Pain Management Clinic, Dr. Nalini
Sehgal, Dr. Michelle Poliak-Tunis, Dr.
Peggy Kim and Dr. Alaa Abd-Elsayed (608)
After hours, nights and weekends call
(608) 262-0486 or 1-800-323-8942. For Dr.
Sehgal or Dr. Poliak-Tunis, ask for the
rehabilitation doctor on call. Leave your
name and phone number with the area code.
The doctor will call you back. For Dr. Abd-
Elsayed and Dr. Kim ask for your doctor to
return your call.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor.
This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because
each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team
when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 6/2017 University of
Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#6971