Spinal Cord Stimulator

Board Certified Neurosurgeons & Minimally Invasive Spine Specialists located in Charleston & Ladson, SC

A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is a device for chronic pain conditions that fail to improve from other interventions, including surgery. Board-certified neurosurgeon Dr. Sabino DAgostino, at Seaside Spine Specialists in Charleston and Ladson, South Carolina, has been placing spinal cord stimulators for over 10 years. He’s the only neurosurgeon in the area that performs both SCS trials and permanent placement of the device, customizing care to meet individual needs. He is also the only neurosurgeon in the area that performs fully asleep SCS trials. Being fully asleep, as instead of just sedated, means you will have complete, not partial, anesthesia for the entire procedure. Call Seaside Spine Specialists or schedule an appointment online to find out how SCS can help you. 

Spinal Cord Stimulator Q & A

What is a spinal cord stimulator?

A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is a medical device that treats chronic pain conditions. This device uses a mild electrical current that blocks the transmission of pain signals from a nerve in the spinal cord to the brain. 

The device is made up of a lead or paddle and a generator.

Lead or Paddle

The lead or paddle is a stimulating wire that Dr. DAgostino places in a specific area over the spinal cord. This delivers a magnetic field to the spinal cord and nerves and blocks the communication of pain. This only blocks pain, all other sensations remain normal. We use MRI compatible leads and paddles. 


The generator is the battery unit that powers the unit. We use rechargeable and non-rechargeable generator batteries. The batteries can last anywhere from 5 to 9 years, depending on usage and settings. In the future, the battery can be replaced in 20 minutes using a same day outpatient surgery. We use MRI compatible generator batteries. 

Not every spinal cord stimulator company is the same or offers the same technology or benefits. Some companies have smaller batteries, some have longer lasting batteries and some have setting that work better for controlling back and buttock pain. Dr. DAgostino has been placing spinal cord stimulators for more than 10 years so he has had exposure to most every company including Abbott, Boston Scientific, Medtronic and Nevro. By working with multiple companies that make these devices, he is able to custom fit a solution to your pain condition. 

Seaside Spine Specialists offers rechargeable and nonrechargeable implant solutions, as well as MRI-compatible options.

What conditions benefit from a spinal cord stimulator?

Dr. DAgostino is an experienced and skilled neurosurgeon well-versed in spinal surgery and SCS, enabling him to consider all treatment options.

He may recommend SCS if you have a chronic pain condition that fails to improve with other treatments or is unsuitable for surgical intervention, such as:

  • Neuropathy & Neuropathic Pain
  • Neck and Arm Pain
  • Low Back and Leg or Foot Pain
  • General Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Shingles Pain (Post-Herpetic Neuralgia)
  • Failed Back Syndrome
  • Post Laminectomy Syndrome
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

Dr. DAgostino may recommend conservative interventions such as physical therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs before proceeding with an SCS trial. 

What is the process for getting a spinal cord stimulator?

The first step is performing a trial. A trial dry-run to find out how much the stimulator will help you. This is a quick, same-day outpatient procedure, where Dr. DAgostino will insert a temporary wire into your back and then teach you how to test it out for five days. The placement of the wire only takes about 20 minutes and is done with a needle - no incisions! We can put a test wire in your neck if you have neck and arm pain or we can put one in your back if you have back and leg pain. In some cases we can do both! Dr. DAgostino is the only neurosurgeon in the area that does a fully asleep trial. This means that you have complete anesthesia for the entire event. 

During the 5 day trial, you are at home being as normal as possible. This will allow us to see if the stimulator helps you in your normal daily activities. After 5 days, we remove the device in the office.  This does not hurt and takes only seconds. 

If the SCS trial provides significant relief from your pain, Dr. DAgostino performs the surgery for permanent device placement. This is also a same day outpatient procedure done under fully asleep general anesthesia. 

Dr. DAgostino is the only neurosurgeon in the region offering fully asleep SCS trials and permanent placement. Though results vary, many people experience significant improvements in their pain and quality of life.

Call Seaside Spine Specialists or schedule your spinal cord stimulator consultation online today.