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** Spinal Stimulators **
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** Spinal Stimulators **

I am a candidate for a spinal stimulator, however, i've read many stories about them failing to provide relief after a certain amount of time.  Also, many stories about problems that occur after having the an implant.

I was just wondering if anyone has had this done and if so, would you do it again?  This is such a difficult decision for me because it seems that every time i've had surgery i've wounded up with other health issues.

I appreciate anyones comments or suggestions about this procedure.  Thanks so much.
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10 Comments Post a Comment
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547368_tn?1332173665
Hi VaBreeze,

Welcome to the pain management community of MedHelp. I am glad that you are here. I am sorry that you are having so much pain that you may require a (SCS) Spinal Cord Stimulator. You have asked a very good question, one I see here a few times a month.

I have seen posts that say it is the best thing they ever did and I have seen others that are having nothing but problems with them. Here's what I think. Much depends on the skill and experience of the physician that is implanting the device. It has to be an accurate implantation. And than it depends on your body and how is responds to the device. Usually a trial with a temporary implant is done for 7 days. Following the trial you and your physician can determine what relief was obtained and if the SCS is right for you.

So I think it comes down to how uncomfortable you are and if your physician is skilled. If you are willing to give it a chance. Personally I would not if it were an option. It seems every thing I have done, or with each surgery I develop another issues, or the recovery is long and difficult. But that does not mean that it may not be right for you. And please do not let me discourage you. I have seen posts that claim great relief with the SCS.

Others will post with their opinion or experience. This being a weekend it may be a bit slower. Please let us know what you decide and how you are doing. We all learn from one another. I wish you the very best. I will look forward to your next update. Please take care, Tuck

PS, I did just search and there is a video on Spine Health that depicts the procedure. You may find that helpful and informative.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Tuckamore and thanks for the warm welcome.

I've looked into the procedure and how it works, along with possible side-effects. I had great faith in my ortho surgeon and I think he tried very hard to put my leg back together after a serious injury.  I lost my deep peroneal nerve...of course...we don't know if it happened due to the injury or the surgery (they have that little clause in there to cta).  It just seemed that with each surgery I had slower healing, longer effects from anesthesia and ended up with more nerve damage and RSD.  I'm just not real happy thinking about someone putting something in my spine that can be displaced should I bend, stretch, lift or cough to hard.  My other concern is about the battery.  They would have to cut again to go in and replace it (every 2 - 5 yrs).  Would they reinsert the unit back into the same place it was previously?  It's doubtful due to scar tissue.

I've had something like this before where they implanted a smiliar shaped unit (magnetic for bone healing).  There was an uncomfortable buldge in my leg.  I had asked to have it removed thinking they could go back in the same as before.  I woke up to find another long cut about 1 1/2" from the original site.  They did not remove the electrodes and one of them has worked its way to the top of my skin and is far from the area where it was placed.  It's sore enough to prevent me from sleeping my right side.  I was offered to have it removed, but declined.  I'm scared to death about having any more surgery done and don't want it unless i've heard enough testimonials about it being the best thing since warm apple pie and ice cream, lol.    

Have a beautiful day.
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667015_tn?1268599078
Hi,

   1st question is do you live in VA and where? I live in norfolk and I have the SCS my Dr that inplnated it is Dr Vincent and he was great. The unit I have is working good 50-60% pain reduction and I am still taking meds to help with the rest of the pain. I still work 8 hrs a day, but some days are good and some bad where I have to turn the unit up for more pain reduction. I feel that if anything you should have the trial unit done this will really let you know if it will help you. The trial is an outpacient procedure and your awake the whole time. If after they put it in and turn it on you feel more pain or its not really helping they can just remove the wire and then look for another way to help with your pain. I have only had 2 things happen to me with my unit. 1st was a test by me to see how close I could get to someone that was welding 10ft was too close and i had to move away fast, the 2nd time was a mistake by me, I had the unit up pretty high after a bad day at work and went from a standing position to a laying one, and if it was not for my wife i think i would have died, I could not move the shock was too high, I could not even yell for help, if I was single it would have died i know it. You need to make sure that you talk to the Dr and to the Rep about the SCS and what you can and cant do, they are kinda veg about some things I work on electronics equipment and transmitters my company feels that I might be a risk because of the unit and I am going through a big deal about it and weither they are going to let me go or not, but thats another story. THe big thig is the trial have that done and see if it helps at all I love my SCS it has given me my life back, I can paly with my kidsa again and love my life, before this I really wanted to die it was just too much, with out the SCS i had to take so many drugs that I could not do anything at all my mind was gone or I was just in too much pain to even watch TV. So please look at the trial unit and make sure you ask questions.I hope you find something to help with you pain. PM me if you have any more questions.

R/
Adam
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Avatar_f_tn
I did PM, but have not received a response.  

Thought I would check one more time to see if anyone else would be able to enlighten me about how this procedure did or did not work for you.  

Have a great day.
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535089_tn?1400677119
Hello VaBreeze:

Here's my two cents worth. I have heard more bad than good from the TENS units. I have a very good friend that wears one and she says it helps the pain but very little. The unit gets in the way of clothing and is uncomfortable quite often. She has had the experience of the unit being turned up too high and has felt an almost paralysis type feeling with it. Remember that you will have to have the battery changed every 2-3 years and that means surgery. I also don't like the idea of an electrical object being in the body. Ultimately it's your decision. I really hope things work out for you and you can becaome somewhat pain free. Take care and good luck in the future.
Mollyrae
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667015_tn?1268599078
I did reply to your PM I do not know if you received it or not but here is what I said.

The temp unit is the key. Its outpac procedure and it only takes about an hour. During that time you can ask alot of questions to the Rep and your Dr. I do know thet with the temp unit any type of movement will make it feel like its shocking you more or less depending on the movement. This will let you know if the SCS will help you enough for you to have the implant done. I have heard of ppl that had the trial and it worked great but had problems when they had the unit installed in them. This is always going to be a risk, no matter what kind of surgery you have. I love my SCS unit it has really helped me keep going. With the  unit I still have pain everyday but with the unit there i can adjust it to help cover some of the pain. It does not fix the pain only covers it up. And as far as I have been told the battery unit if it dies out or there is a problem they go into the same spot and hook a new unit to your wires. Also about the leads, I have a 16 node lead installed so that there are alot of things that we can try to get better coverage of my pain areas, I would ask and try to make sure that you get this type of lead I started with only left leg pain but after going back to work I started to have pain in my right leg. Right after the pain  started in my right leg the Rep was able to turn on another node on my lead and give me coverage that helped with the pain in my right leg.Please let me know if there are any other questions that you might have. I really did reply to your PM I dont know if it went through or not.

Also on you main page I tried to leave a note for you but it stated that you where not accepting notes at this time.

Best of luckin finding something to help with your pain.

R/
Adam
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547368_tn?1332173665
Molly, Maybe I misunderstood your post or LaBreeze's post but I think she is talking about the SCS, (Spinal Cord Stimulator) which is a bit different from the TENS unit. Both operate on the same principle. The electrical impulses are to confuse or change the pain impulses signals that your brain receives from the effected site. Again maybe I misunderstood.

There is a woman that sees the same PCP that I do. She had one for severe uncontrollable pelvic pain. It has not been effective for her. Last summer she experienced an infection (6 months after installation of the device) at the site of insertion. She still kept it until until a few weeks ago when she developed more problems. She recently had it removed. I haven't seen her since so I don't know how she is doing.

I hope you'll obtain more information also. I am sure there are others that have the SCS. You may want to search the archives to find them. I agree the temporary one would be a good trial for you. In fact I think that is a requirement before they will insert the permanent wires for the device. Again good luck and please feel free to share your decision with us and if inserted how well it works. Peace, Tuck
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648944_tn?1241473294
I had a SCS for about fifteen months.  Certainly, it has worked well for a number of people.  My experience was that it was a very fussy piece of equipment--in particular, it had to be re-charged frequently, and this was not a simple matter.  I was not warned of this in advance. The problem I had was that one of the wires moved after it was implanted--it showed very clearly in before and after x-rays, and the move caused it to hit a nerve.  Consequently, it made things worse rather than better.  I had a choice:  get the wire re-set, or have it removed.  I chose the latter.  Whatever you decide, best wishes...fpainestam
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you all so very much for your responses.  I do appreciate what you have shared with me.

Hawk - I'm sorry, but I didn't receive your response.  I'm always accepting notes (because I love getting them).  It could be a glitch somewhere and i'm sorry you couldn't get through to me.  I do thank you for your response here.

Take care everyone and God Bless you all and grant you pain free days.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had SCS implanted 3/3/09.  Has not worked for me.  I had the TENS unit before and it gave me much relief but the pads were sliding around during hot, sweaty weather and it was annoying to have all the wires, etc on outside of my body.  Yes I would have to turn it up really high when the batteries would start to get low but when they were new I did not.  PM Dr introduced me to the SCS and I went for it.  Was supposed to be like having a TENS unit inside my body (or so I was told) Wish I had not.  The only place they get stimulation is in my legs, ribs and stomach - nothing at all in my back where it is needed - L5/S1.  And with the battery implanted I can no longer use my TENS unit.  Have had to go to stronger pain meds and muscle relaxers now.  I was (and still am) taking neurontin (gabapentin - generic name) for sciatic nerve pain in my leg and it works great.  Have been passed around from one rep to another and am now on the third one.  The first rep told me all kinds of nice stories before surgery and then tried programming one time 2 days after surgery, told me he would call me back the next week to try again, he never called back nor did he ever return my calls.  Also, I had requested to him for the rechargeable battery since it had a longer life span - based on the amount of usage on my TENS and he agreed.  I wake up to find a non-rechargeable battery that will have to be replaced in 3 - 5 years.  No answers as to why he did that - he won't return my calls. My third rep tells me he will continue to work with me but really thinks it is never going to get any better and that it is due to improper lead placement and the only way to fix that is to go back in for another surgery to have the leads replaced and HOPE they get it right - NOT - If I go back in I will have it all removed and go back to my TENS unit - wires and all.  I have read good stories and bad about them - unfortunately, I am one of the bad stories and I was really so excited before surgery about getting this SCS and looking forward to it........  Good luck to you but if I had it to do over again there is no way I would do it.
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