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Old 08-23-2010, 03:27 PM   #1
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spinal cord stimulator, should i have it removed?

Hi all. Here is my situation.
I have been thru a number of spine surgeries which included putting harrington rods in the cervical/thoracic region and lumbar region. I also had a spinal cord stimulator implanted as well. I have so many issues that I can't really say that the stimulator is working or not. I have numbness in the left leg; feeling of pins and needles and pain most in the left leg. I am not sure what the stimulator is doing or not at this point. The stimulator does not work on everything.
But here is also the other reason that I am thinking of having the stimulator removed.
I have stenosis in the neck and lumber region. It seems as though as it has progressed. But I cant have an MRI done because of the stimulator implant.
I cant have a regular CT scan done since I have so much hardware in my. The films come back blurred so that you cant really see what is going on. And I can't have a CT scan with contrast since I have one kidney and the kidney that I do have is failing. The contrast is dangerous for me to use as it would throw me into high risk for immediate kidney damage on top of what I have.
If I get the stimulator removed I think I may be able to have an MRI done to show what is going on. I am not sure what to do at this point. I have been in pain and at the end of my ropes.
Any suggestions?

 
Old 08-23-2010, 06:48 PM   #2
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Re: spinal cord stimulator, should i have it removed?

I would talk to your spine surgeon. I think it's very reasonable to consider having it removed, getting the MRI's done to see what it going on and what kind of pain level you are at and then if necessary, have a new one put back in.....unless you need surgery. Then I'd wait until a decision has been made about surgery as the incidence of infection with the stimulators is so high you'd want that after any surgery has healed.

If the spine were a place where they could use fiber optic scopes to diagnose, then you could go that route but it's used only for surgery. MRI's or CT's are the best way to to do non-invasive diagnosis. I don't know that even a myelogram would help much in figuring it out.

I don't know if a PET scan would be useful or if even applicable. Just thinking of things that aren't invasive.

That's my rationale.....anyone else?

gentle hugs.............Jenny

 
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:56 AM   #3
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Re: spinal cord stimulator, should i have it removed?

Jenny:

Here is what was running thru my mind. I was thinking of going back to a neurologist that I used in the past. She did an EMG several years ago. Should an EMG be re-done to see if things have changed? Would also discuss with her about her thoughts on getting the stimulator removed. Not sure about this but since the CT that was done in the past didnt show anything because of all the artifacts that are in my back, would the MRI do the same thing. Would the MRI be able to get past the artifacts to show what is going on? Not sure of the answer. Also as to the PET scan I've never been thru anything. My concern/question is on the PET scan do they have to inject you with something i.e. contrast? If so I may not be a candidate since I have kidney issues and any contrast is dangereous for me. Just a thought for now.

 
Old 08-24-2010, 02:56 PM   #4
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Re: spinal cord stimulator, should i have it removed?

I don't know anything about PET scans either but thought I'd mention it as something to research.

I think your idea of using the neurologist is perfect. I did the same thing. I used her to decide if I needed surgery(she has no financial gain so I could trust her judgment) and then once she said yes, used her to find the best doc I could. Her letter to him got me in to see him in 3 weeks instead of the average of 6 months for a new patient.

And then she advised me after surgery. Then she moved! I've been without a neurologist since and I have to get one. But she was sooooo good I am spoiled. Saw one who blew me off because of my history of mental health issues. So it's time to start shopping for new neurologist again(I hate this part). I think they are a great resource.

I'd do it if I was you.

hugs.............Jenny

 
Old 08-24-2010, 08:37 PM   #5
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Re: spinal cord stimulator, should i have it removed?

My friend had a spinal stimulator and got it taken out, but a pain management doctor/surgeon did the process.

 
Old 08-21-2011, 09:07 AM   #6
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Re: spinal cord stimulator, should i have it removed?

You should really consult a lawyer. Depending on the type of stimulator, you can have MRI head scans...there are scanning requirements that can be followed for the Medtronic device, whereas Boaton Sci, and ANS/St. Jude take away the option completely. If your Doc doesn't know this, then shame on him. If there was even a chance that you might need an MRI, then the Doc should've implanted the one that allows for an MRI. A lawyer will look out for your rights. Good luck and I hope you have the Medtronic one. Feel better soon!

 
Old 08-21-2011, 09:32 AM   #7
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Re: spinal cord stimulator, should i have it removed?

I had the stimulator removed back in February. And yet it was a Medtronic. To my understanding even with Medtronic you could not have an MRI done.

 
Old 08-21-2011, 01:36 PM   #8
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Re: spinal cord stimulator, should i have it removed?

One final thought. I think you can have an MRI of the head with a stimulator implant. But anything in the spine MRI"s can't be done with any device from what I was told at least. And the MRI's that I need was of the cervical and lumbar spine.

 
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