Implantable DevicesSpinal cord stimulation (SCS) uses implanted electrodes to send out low intensity, impulses to stimulate certain nerve fibers along the spinal cord. The goal is to stop pain messages from being sent to the brain from the spinal cord. SCS produces a tingling sensation that should replace the pain. A trial of SCS should be done before the permanent electrodes are placed to assess potential benefit of the device.
The intrathecal pump provides an opioid medication directly into the spinal fluid. It is meant to produce a selective pain-blocking effect on the spinal cord. This method should have less sedation effects than with opioids taken by mouth. However, many of the other side effects that occur with oral opioids can also be a problem with giving the drug through the spinal cord.
For more information: http://www.nationalpainfoundation.org/MyTreatment/news_implantabletherapy.asp