I am starting the process to get approved for a spinal cord stimulator. I REALLY need to know EXACTLY how the recovery is from the trial and the permanent one. I have two small children at home (ages 3 and 4) to care for by myself. My husband does work from home, but his office is upstairs and we rarely see him during the day.
So, this is what i know about the trial.
1) You go in to day surgery and the place the SCS under light sedation.
2) The wires are taped to you and you are not to shower, bend, or twist for about 3 days.
3) The unit is pulled out right in the doctors office.
1) It is placed by the neurosurgeon....... that is all I know
Do you have to stay overnight with the permanent placement?
How long is the down-time?
What are your EXACT restrictions while healing?
How long does it take to heal?
When can I drive my kids to preschool?
When can I go grocery shopping?
When can I do laundry?
When can I make my kids meals?
When can I give my kids a bath?
Basically....how long until I can resume my life (without pain hopefully!!!!).
Thank so much. My doctors sometimes dont understand I have two small children and even when I am hurting, sick, and can barely move.... I still have to function for them.
You should be asking your doctor all of these questions. I am considering having one put in and my doctor asked me if I had any questions concerning it which I do and I have some of the same questions as you do. You can go to Medtronic's site and find the Ambassador program where they link you up with someone that has an SCS and they answer all of your questions over the phone. I would like to know some of the answers too.
Thanks for your response. I have asked my doctor these questions and all says is just to take it easy for a few days. Even after my back surgery with my neurosurgeon, he expected my 13 month old (who wasn't even walking yet) to climb up into her own carseat! They just don't "get" being a mom.
I was just wondering the recovery from others who have gone through it. It's one thing to tell a person who is home and resting by themselves to take it easy vs. a mom with young kids.
recovery is differennt for every one of course
for me I left the hosp the same day
for about the first week i could do nothing
my eldest helped with cooking, cleaning, showering and putting on my shoes
i think it was 3 days before i could walk down the steps to get to my car to drive
my pain was intense from the surgery
the scs worked from day one
my dr said, no lifting, bending, turning, twisting ect for 3 months as you need the leads to heal and attach to your body
good luck Cindy
Thanks for your response. I do agree...everyone's recovery can be very different. When I had my discectomies, I was up and about that night and in very little pain. My recovery was almost nothing. But then I've read stories about people being in pain for days after.
I am at a point where I need my life back. I need to be able to function for my children. I am requiring more and more pain pills to get through the day. Unfortunately, we have no family in the area to help with the kids. It's me with them all day long. I can barely make it through the day as it is and spend too much time on the couch resting while they watch tv. But I guess you have to do what you have to do to make it through the day.
I guess I need to make an apt with the Neurosurgeon who actually places the permanent unit. He would be the best person to talk to about the recovery. Every time I ask my pain doctor, he tells me he does not do the permanent ones and that is a very low-risk surgery with little down-time. But again, he doesn't udnerstand my specific situation...being home alone with a 3 and 4 yr old ALL day by myself.
Thanks again for your replies. I just need to get among the living again and am praying this SCS will give me some of my life back.
I had my 2nd SCS permanently implanted 3 weeks ago. I am getting better, day by day. I will be off from work for 2 months. I wear a neck brace and I am unable to drive. You will need help. If you are not very careful, your leads can move. That happened to me when I had my 1st SCS implanted a couple of years ago. I had to have the entire surgery repeated and I was out of work for 2 months, again! It is very important that you follow the restrictions. No bending, lifting or twisting. The recovery is not easy. It is painful. My SCS's are cervical. I have heard that lumbar is a bit easier. (no neck brace)
The first time I had the SCS surgery I remember being shocked at how difficult the recovery was. The doctor made it sound like it was going to be easy. Not!! The first week or two is always the worst. Lots of pain at the incisions and at the battery site. Tons of swelling and be prepared to be "black and blue" for a couple of weeks. I am lucky that my husband is here to help me. At first, I needed so much help. I had to be lifted out of bed during the night. Needed help with washing my hair and drying it (can't lift arms over head) and I needed help dressing. I hope I did not scare you. I just think you should be prepared. The SCS is a great tool for pain. I am happy to have both of mine. The recovery is difficult but it is worth it!
By the way, the trial is easy! Almost no pain and it only last a few days. But you still have to be careful.
I am considered the SCS and will be doing the trial in August more than likely. DO you need to take time off work for having the trial. If I have it done on a Friday, do you think I would be able to make it to work on Monday? I did not realize that I would need to take 2 months off for having the permanent imlant WOW That is definitely a big decision to work but my pain has really been bothering me and the pain meds have too many side effects and I have tried nearly every single medication available. Can I ask what the Maker and Model of SCS you have? Is it the rechargeable kind? If it is how do you recharge the batteries? How much does it take away your pain? How long will the battery last before needing to be replaced and is there some type of charge indicator or battery life indicator? I am really scared to do it but if the trial goes well and takes away alot of pain I will do it for sure
I will try to answer all of your questions. If I miss anything, please let me know. Having the trial on a Friday is a good idea. You should be able to have it removed on Monday. Maybe you could have it removed early on Monday and make it to work for some of the day. You can't shower during the trial. I was sedated for the trial but not for the removal. The removal takes a few seconds. Easy and not painful. It was done in the doctor's office. You might not have to take 8 weeks off after the permanent surgery. I think it depends on the type of work you do and what your doctor is suggesting. I think the aveage time off is about 6 weeks. You will be sedated for most of the permanent implant surgery. You will have to be awake for part of the surgery. That is a little scary. You have to be awake to tell the doctor where you are feeling the stimulation and to make sure you are getting the right areas of pain. The permanent surgery takes about 3 hours. I went home from the hospital the same day. You might have to stay for one night. Both of my SCS's are the Precision by Boston Scientific. One SCS is for arm pain and I get about 80% relief. My new SCS is for head pain and it was covering about 60-70% of that pain. However, I am not getting very much relief right now because I need reprogramming. I still have swelling and that interferes with the stimulation. I will need to heal a bit more and then I will get "fine tuned". I charge up my batteries about every 5 days. I never turn off the SCS's. I just adjust the level of stimulation as needed. The recharging takes me about 2 hours. Your remote will indicate when you are running out of power. You place the charger (mine is cordless) over the battery and it charges through the skin. I have one battery on each side, they sit against my ribs, just below the skin. They are visible (kinda creepy) but I like the location of the batteries. I sleep on my back and I did not want to be laying on the batteries. I was told that the batteries should last at least 5 years. You will have to keep your remote close by at all times. Abrupt movements can cause the level of stimulation to change. A sudden "power surge" can be very uncomfortable. You will need to adjust the stimulation when this happens. Sometimes I get a "power surge" for no reason. The SCS is sensitive to electromagnetic interference. Theft detectors or security screeners might give you a little "jolt". You might want to turn off your SCS before you enter a store. You will be given a card to show at the airport. I never walk through the airport screening device. I show the card and I am given assistance. Your patient handbook will tell you all about this. My doctor requires (strongly suggests) that I wear a medical ID bracelet. My bracelet is engraved with the words "this person has an implanted medical device". It is a good idea to wear some form of medical ID because you can never have an MRI. Also, you can not have external defibrillation (electrically charged paddles to start the heart) or have ultrasonic scanning. There is a lot to think about when it comes to having a SCS. I can tell you that I am very happy to have mine!