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Frequently Asked Questions about Boston Scientific Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) Systems

Whether you are considering Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) or are in the process of getting it, here you will find helpful information about the Boston Scientific SCS Systems.

The facts below are for you to consider and discuss with your physician. Our hope is that this guidance and information will help you feel informed and prepared at the various steps of your journey in determining if SCS is right for you.

Your medical team will help you assess if SCS is right for you. They are the best ones to reach out to with medical questions and inquiries specific to your situation, such as insurance coverage, the SCS system(s) they offer, procedure eligibility, and other related questions.

Questions about SCS Questions about the test drive

Questions About SCS:

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  • Yes. SCS therapy has been proven safe and effective. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have been treated with SCS. But of course, you should review the risks of the therapy with your physician. Boston Scientific SCS Systems are FDA-approved for adults with chronic pain of the trunk and/or lower limbs (low back and legs).

  • People differ in the amount of pain relief they receive with SCS therapy. The trial, or test drive, may help you determine the amount of relief you will receive. SCS is generally considered effective if your pain is reduced by at least 50%.

  • Every person differs in how effective SCS therapy is for them. For some patients, SCS therapy may work well enough that pain medications are no longer needed. For others, success with the therapy can mean using less pain medication. Always consult your doctor before changing your medication dosage.

  • SCS is covered by most health insurance plans, including Medicare, commercial payers, and most workers' compensation programs. Your clinic or physician will need to get approval first. Insurance providers generally require pre-authorization for SCS. After determining that you are a candidate for SCS, your physician and his/her office staff will provide your insurance company the necessary documentation needed to complete the pre-authorization.

    Your physician's office and your health insurance provider/program are the best resources for coverage questions and can provide you specific detail regarding your coverage benefits and out-of-pocket cost for SCS. More insurance coverage details »

  • SCS patients have many imaging options. Commonly used methods such as X-Rays, CT Scans, PET Scans and Ultrasounds can image many different parts of the body, including soft tissue. In addition, the Precision Montage™ MRI System provides access to full-body MRI scans, under specified conditions, for patients who meet the eligibility requirements. SCS systems have varying limitations and conditions related to MRI scans. Talk to your doctor to find out which option is right for you. Learn about imaging options »

  • Our SCS Systems are designed to cover several pain areas at the same time if needed. You can use your wireless remote control to adjust the amount of stimulation for each pain area.

  • It's up to you and your physician when to use SCS therapy and how much to use. Our SCS Systems and the rechargeable battery technology are designed so that you can keep it on 24 hours a day. However, you should always consult your doctor first.

  • No. You will not be able to see the device under your skin. Unless you tell someone you have it, they'd never know. Our SCS implanted IPGs feature contoured, oval shapes and are small. Your doctor can position it in the most comfortable and convenient location for you. Some patients report that they can feel the unit by pressing on their skin. In many cases, it is not visible to others.

  • It's about the diameter of a silver dollar.

  • Yes. Our SCS System's wireless remote control lets you turn stimulation on and off, increase and decrease the level of stimulation, and target different pain areas using settings or programs customized by your physician specifically for you.

  • Our SCS System uses powerful, rechargeable battery technology that carries a 5-year warranty, but they may last even longer.

  • You decide on a recharging schedule that best fits your needs. Most people choose to charge based on a routine that fits their lifestyle, like during their favorite weekly TV show. Your wireless remote control will also tell you when your implant battery is low and needs recharging.

  • Recharging the implant battery is designed to be very simple. The charger is lightweight, wireless, and portable, so you can charge on the go. Either an adhesive patch or soft cloth belt (included with the charger) can be used to help place the charger over the device.

  • No. You could think of the device similarly to a pacemaker. You will NOT set off store security detectors. Also, your location cannot be tracked by using this device.

  • No. Unlike other rechargeable batteries, the Boston Scientific SCS System IPG batteries are designed to prevent damage and resume normal function once charged.

  • For several weeks after the implant procedure, you will be asked to restrict your physical activity. Once that period is over, Boston Scientific SCS Systems are designed to help you lead a healthy and active lifestyle. However, you should always consult your physician before resuming activity after surgery or before engaging in physical activities.

  • Yes. Even though your leads and IPG are surgically implanted, they can be disengaged or removed by your physician, if ever needed.

  • Pain Management Specialists are physicians who specialize in treating chronic pain. These physicians receive years of advanced, specialized training in pain management and focus on treating patients with severe pain. Find a Pain Management Specialist »

  • Please reach out to our Patient Care Specialists — available 5 a.m. - 5 p.m. PST, Monday - Friday. Call 866.360.4747.

Questions About the Trial:

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  • For people who now manage their chronic pain with SCS therapy, the first step was a trial, which is a test drive of a Boston Scientific SCS System. This allows you to try out a Boston Scientific System first to experience it firsthand, so you and your physician can decide if it is right for you.

  • If your physician recommends SCS for your pain condition, you can try out a temporary system before final implantation. The test drive lasts on average 3 to 7 days (may be shorter or longer). In this testing time, and at its conclusion, you and your physician can decide if spinal SCS therapy helps manage your pain. If it does, you can move forward with the implanted system. If it doesn't, you simply have the trial system removed. Remember that the beauty of the test drive is you'll know first-hand if SCS is right for you before making any commitment.

  • The trial starts with an outpatient procedure conducted at the physician's office or surgery center and usually takes 1 to 2 hours. Then, over the next 3 to 7 days (may be shorter or longer), you are able to see if the SCS System works for you in helping manage your pain.

  • Yes. Unlike the long-term implant, the temporary system has external components. Because of the external components, there are some precautions you'll need to take. Your physician will go over all these with you, but some general things to know are this:

    • You will need to keep the system dry — so bathing or showering cannot be done during the test drive. Prepare for this prior by showering the morning of the procedure.
    • Avoid activities and positions that could pull your leads out of place.
    • Consider keeping a journal over the next week to evaluate the therapy. Note any new things you're able to do and also how you're sleeping. Go about your daily activities and take notice of how you're feeling and the things you may be able to do that you weren't before.