Chronic and debilitating testicular pain can be contained and significantly relieved with spinal cord stimulation. The SCS therapy reduces dependence on painkillers and improved the quality of life along with relief from disabling pain.
What is chronic testicular pain?
Chronic testicular pain or orchialgia refers to persistent pain in the scrotum, which contains testicles. The pain can be due to infection, trauma, inflammation, or nerve compression, but is not exactly traced to any identifiable organic cause.
What are symptoms of chronic testicular pain?
- Chronic pain in the testicles
- Persistent inflammation of testicles
- Pain in the coiled tube and supporting tissue inside/ around testicles
What causes orchialgia?
- Testicles are very sensitive and pain sets in with minor injury
- Twisting of testicles inhibiting blood flow
- Injury to the coiled tube and supporting tissues
- Injury to groin, abdomen, or pelvic areas
- Damage caused by diabetic neuropathy
- Chronic testicle inflammation
- Retractile testicle
- Inflammation of blood vessel feeding testicles
- Fluid build in the scrotum
- Hernia, Fournier’s gangrene, idiopathic testicular pain, mumps
- Testicular cancer
- Injury to nerves following surgery
How does spinal cord stimulation control chronic testicular pain?
A spinal cord stimulator implanted in a patient’s body delivers electrical pulses to the spine at regular intervals. This interrupts the pain signal transmission by nerve fibers. A decrease in sympathetic tone and reduced pain transmission to brain ensure excellent relief from chronic testicular pain.
How well does spinal cord stimulation manage chronic testicular pain?
Spinal cord stimulation, according to research studies, is able to relieve chronic testicular pain with an average efficacy rate of 62%. A recent study shows that the success rate could be 84% with significant reduction in painkiller use and improvement in the quality of life.
Those with malignancy related chronic testicular pain and unresponsive to other treatment modalities could have “a sustained 80% decrease of pain at 6 weeks” and improved quality of life and functional status with spinal cord stimulator implant.
A paper presented at the 2015 North American Neuromodulation Society meet claimed that SCS therapy is 80% to 100% effective in treating chronic testicular pain linked to inflammation and nerve distribution.
Is spinal cord stimulation different from neuromodulation?
No, spinal cord stimulation is a type of neuromodulation. About 50,000 spinal cord stimulator implant performed each year making it the most popular neuromodulation device.
Who could benefit from a spinal cord stimulator?
Chronic testicular pain patients with the following conditions are likely to be benefited from spinal cord stimulation.
- Persistent pain for months
- No relief from other treatment methods
- No addiction to painkillers
- SCS trial shows successful pain relief
What is done during the spinal cord stimulator trial?
The trial test is to determine whether spinal cord stimulator is beneficial for a patient. Electrode leads are placed in the epidural area using local anesthesia. The leads are connected to an external stimulator using a wire. The device is operated at a frequency depending on the intensity of chronic testicular pain the patient has.
The trial test goes on for 7 days and a pain relief exceeding 50% make the patient suitable for spinal cord stimulator implant.
How is the spinal cord stimulator implanted?
General anesthesia is used during the permanent implant. First a small incision is made to place electrode leads in the epidural space next to the spine. Another incision is made just above the buttock to implant a spinal cord stimulator. A wire going through soft tissues connects the lead with the device. This follows a test run and incisions are closed.
How long does spinal cord stimulator implant take?
It takes about 2 hours to perform the permanent SCS implant on a patient with chronic testicular pain.
Does insurance cover the implant?
Most insurance providers offer coverage foe spinal cord stimulation.
How do I expect to feel after the spinal cord stimulator implant?
- Patient is discharged after a brief observation
- Mild discomfort and soreness at the incision site for a few days
- Variable pain relief immediately after the surgery
- Permanent level of pain relief after 72 hours
Is there any restriction during the recovery period?
- Rest needed for 5 to 7 days
- No deep bath or showers for 4 weeks
- No driving for 4 weeks
- No swimming, running, or rigorous activities for 6 weeks
- Avoid twisting, bending, climbing stairs for 6 weeks
How can I operate the spinal cord stimulator implanted?
You can operate, manage, reset, or control the spinal cord stimulator implanted with a hand-held remote. It is a small device and can be carried easily.
Will it damage the spinal cord in the long run?
No, spinal cord stimulation is absolutely safe to treat chronic testicular pain. It does not pose any risk to the spine. The implant procedure, however, may cause avoidable injury to the spine. Such damage can be avoided by selecting an experienced surgeon.
Do I need to replace the spinal cord stimulator after some years?
The spinal cord stimulator implant is a life-long process and there is no need to replace it. However, patients have to replace batteries in 5 to 10 years.
What side effects are associated with the implant?
The device implant and spinal cord stimulation to treat chronic testicular pain are without any side effects. However, there may be surgical complications, spinal fluid leakage, and scar tissue development – a few avoidable adverse events caused by surgical implant.
The top center for spinal cord stimulation in Colorado is Colorado Clinic with several centers. There are seven locations with most insurance being accepted. Call today!