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Posted by Betsy on July 13, 1999 at 13:58:37:

In Reply to: SPINAL CORD STIMULATOR posted by TJ on July 10, 1999 at 18:09:46:

Hi! I just had my SCS implanted...actually, it was 9 weeks ago today from the second (IPG) surgery. I'll tell you all about my experiences with it now!

The trial is a little difficult, and the first 6 weeks after the permanent are pretty hard too. I cried through the trial surgery because it hurt. My doc kept knocking me out between the times when they tested it. It wasn't fun at all, and it took about 2 hours to get the best possible placement! After the trial was placed, I went to the recovery room. My nurse and the medtronic rep programmed the trial unit. They taught me how to use it, and then I went home with it.

Here's the part that's hard...the restrictions! You can't bend, turn, twist, lift anything heavier than 5 pounts, lift your arms above your head, pull, push (including heavy doors), and things like that. If you don't follow the restrictions, the leads will get pulled out of place, which usually means that you'll need more surgery to put them back in place!

You have to be careful during the trial too. If the leads move, you won't be able to tell how well it will help you, and the trial will have to be repeated.

The pros and cons...well, I really don't know! There are really no bad things about the trial. If you don't like it, or you don't get enough relief, you just don't get the permanent one. I always think that it's worth it to at least do the trial, because there's a real chance that it can help.

The pros to the permanent are that it can reduce your pain significantly, it can help your circulation, and all those obvious things. The cons are that this is a pretty major surgery, for one thing. It will reduce your pain, but it might not be enough of a decrease. Every couple of years, you'll have to have outpatient surgery to replace the IPG battery (if you have an IPG (fully implanted unit)). There's also the risk of leads pulling out of place and other problems with the device itself. Last, but definitely not least, some people get relief for a while, but later on it stops helping.

So far, I'm satisfied with the results I've gotten. I only get 20-25% pain reduction, but I'll take what I can get! It's weird to have this machine implanted in me, and it's even weirder to know that I'm going to have to have tons of surgeries to replace things, eventually. If it continues to work, I could have this thing in for a very long time, since I'm only 16 years old! Also, I only have leads in the lumbar part of my spine, and I have almost full-body RSD. That means that the SCS only helps my legs, not my arms. Eventually, I might end up getting a cervical too, which would mean that I would either have 2 totally separate units, or I would have my IPG (implantable pulse generator) removed, and have all of my leads hooked up to a receptor for the radiofrequency unit (external controller).

If you want more info, feel free to e-mail me!


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