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SCS battery replacement

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,607
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:26 AM in Pain Management

Has anyone had their battery replaced in their SCS. I go tomorrow to find out if it needs replacing, and was just wondering how invasive the procedure was. I have had my stimulator for 2.5 years, so this is pretty soon I thought. Also anyone have the rechargeable battery. Thats what the will replace this one with.



  • I have not had my battery replaced (sound of knocking on wood), however I do have a rechargeable battery. I was worried that I would be "tied" to being close to an electrical source all the time, but that's not so. I have found that even running my SCS on multiple channels day and night, I only have to recharge every 7 to 9 days. My charging battery will give me 2 full charges even with the SCS still running during the charge. So I am able to be free from an electrical source for several weeks if necessary.

    I don't know for certain, but I would think that it's not too big of a deal to get the battery replaced, especially if they are using the same pocket.

    Best of luck and come back and let us know how it went.

  • Holtpooh,
    I have not had the battery replaced, but I have had my battery adjusted. In Dec I had to have it adjusted, they just went in the same insicion, adjusted and sewed me up. It was a pretty easy process. I was only out of work for 10 days. However, when they adjusted it, they put it too deep, so next week I go in to have it moved to the other side of my back. So it will be a new pocket.
    Mine is also rechargable, so I agree with Hagland on that, once it is fully charged, I do not have to charge for another week or so.
    Good luck and take care!
  • I'm starting to think I'm the deviant on charging times. My last several charges have taken about 4.5 hours (from 1/4 battery to full) and have been 6-7 weeks apart. :?

  • How many channels are you running at one time? I have to run 4 channels simultaneously at various amplitudes to get good coverage. I bump up the amplitude depending on my activity and turn it down at night.

    We do know you are a deviant though, so ... =))
  • Thanks to everyone. I unfortunately do not have the rechargeable battery, so I went yesterday to meet with the medtronic rep and my doctor, and I do indeed have to get a new battery. Good news is that it will be a rechargeable one this time. So thanks for all the input on rechargeables, I was curious about how they actually worked. I'm a little slow in finding this site, but it's great to finally be able connect with folks who have a SCS. Didn't think too may existed.
  • I'm running 4 too.

    I have the specify 5-6-5 lead and the doctor and rep both told me I would have better coverage using less power than I would if I had percutaneous leads, but the differences seem too extreme for just that to account for. :?
  • I am running 4 channels on 2 percutaneous leads arranged to crosstalk. So I guess you could say it would be as if running 8 individual channels.

    I think it's cool that you get longer battery life. I would probably get forgetful if I didn't have to recharge on a weekly basis. So I guess for me, the shorter recharge cycle time is better.

    Which battery do you have? I am running the RestoreULTRA.

  • Glad to hear that they are going to fix you up with a rechargeable battery. How soon before they do the swap?

    It is nice to have an ever expanding group of people with neurostimulators to compare notes with. There seems to be a recent expansion of the population numbers. What's cool is not everyone is using the same brand or even model, so we get to see how each company deals with their clients.

    What boggles my mind, is that permanently implanted neurostimulators have been in use since the 1960's. I can't even imagine how frustrating the older battery technology and lead configuration must have been.

    Glad to have you aboard, and love your beagle!

  • Since my battery is still running, my doctor is going to schedule me for anywhere from 2-4 weeks out. If it goes out anytime soon, the surgery will be done ASAP. I have lost some sensation, but I am still getting good coverage.

    I'm just hoping I won't be out of commission too long.

    BTW, the beagle's a mess, but gotta love em!
  • When I first read this post I didn't get that it wasn't a rechargeable battery that you had... I would think it would be pretty cool to not ever have to recharge, but a little unsettling to know that you would have to have it replaced after only a few years. I don't even remember when my rep told me that mine would have to be replaced. Having it placed the first time wasn't too bad, but having it REplaced, I'm thinking, might be a bit uncomfortable because of the scar tissue. Worth it of course, but a bit uncomfortable!
    Good luck with the replacement procedure and please tell us how it goes! Welcome aboard!
  • One way I found to extend the battery when I couldn't charge because I still had staples in and a holiday weekend pushed me to wait 4 extra days, was to turn it way down at night.

    Good luck with the battery replacement and "the beagle"!

  • I guess it has been nice not having to recharge, but I thought my battery would last at least 3 years, so this is kind of a bummer. Since I keep mine pretty high, I usually turn it off at night and just take pain meds. That was supposed to legthen the life of the battery, so much for that. I am excited at the prospect of not having to worry about this again for awhile. I'm actually hoping that the replacement surgery is less painful than the initial surgery. The incision in my back wasn't half as painful as the one where the battery was placed.
  • rechargeable is the way to go!!!I have the smallest battery on the market by a company called ANS St Jude Medical. It is supposed to last up to 10 years. By recharging once a week I only recharge 2 hours and the system is portable so i can recharge while doing the dishes. yuck have not found a way to get rid of that job LOL If i want to recharge every 4 days I only will charge for an hour. They say you can never charge to much it will not hurt the battery.
    Hard to believe a surgeon is still using staples when there are cool things out there like dermabond (skin glue)
    good luck and shop around There is nothing scarier to a doctor then a patient who is informed and has done their research.
  • The Eon mini has mobile charging now? Good for St. Jude.. it's about time they disconnected folks from the wall! =D>
  • I'm using a lot of battery with 2 leads and 3 contact points (I think) on each. I'm having to recharge twice a week, but I also have anxiety issues when I see it get below 1/4 battery. lol I honestly don't know how long I truly could go. Going in tomorrow for another tweak with my programmer.

    I also have the ANS Eon Mini(2 weeks tomorrow) and love it. It only takes me about an hour to charge (twice a week) and I usually do sit still. But with the belt and portable battery charger, I could go for a walk outside if I wanted.

    I really thought recharging would take up much more of my life, and I was so wrong!! And on another board, I read of someone who chose very recently to get the non-rechargeable type because he didn't want to worry about it. I would worry more about having to have surgery so often.

  • The way I came up with getting rid of the anxiety over my battery getting too low, is to keep a recharge log. I have a desk calendar that I have used for many years to track my pain levels and medications. Once I got my SCS, it was like a habit and I just began recording the recharge day and length of charge.

    Just like with most things, the longer you have/do them, the less anxiety/concern you have. You just get to "know" what is normal and what isn't. I discovered my average times, and can anticipate the recharge and plan my day accordingly. I use the recharge as a bona-fide excuse to sit back in the recliner for a few hours and watch a movie.

    When I talk about how long it takes me to recharge, I factor in all the time it take me, from the time I pull out the charger to the time I am putting it away.

    I am not comfortable getting my charger close to water, so I will remove it when I use the bathroom or wash dishes. It is too important to me and I am not going to risk it in the one environment that can damage or destroy it.

    I am not familiar with the Eon, so I can't say whether or not the one hour twice a week is right. Your rep can help you with that.

  • ANS has the Eon recharge intervals posted on their website. Here's the benchmark averages they list:

    Low (3 mA, 200 μs, 40 Hz) - recharge every 121 days
    Medium (6.5 mA, 225 μs, 70 Hz) - recharge every 22 days
    High (8.6 mA, 238 μs, 160 Hz) - recharge every 6 days

    If you're recharging at 1/4 battery, that seems pretty consistent with their average for high power users.
  • C, I don't know why I didn't see this response until today. I must have been having a blind moment. @)

    I have the RestoreUltra too, but I have this lead:

  • Is there a place that SCS devices are discussed?
    I have had one recommended for me. I have the psych testing to do next Wednesday. I am wondering what is involved, who will ultimately decide if I get one? etc,

    I have upper back and right shouder pain after fracturing C7, T3, T4, T5. MRI shows nothing significant.

    I have been in pain for 2.5 years now. I'm glad they do work for some people. The few I have found in the past month have said they did not work for them. Had me real nervous!
  • Welcome to Spine Health. If you look through the Pain Management section here, you will see there are several very good threads discussing SCS's. However, I know that many of us are more than happy to answer any of your questions and try to allay your fears.

    I have a c-spine SCS to control the pain in my neck, shoulders, arms and hands. I love it and would be lost without it.

    You are welcome to PM me and I can explain my story and what my personal experience has been in regards to getting an SCS.

  • Hi

    I am 9 weeks into mine & you would have to knock me out to get it off me EVER - it is FAB. Just started to try to reduce the fentanyl so will see how that goes.

    One problem is that as I am doing things differently as left leg improved it has raised issues in my right but programmer able to cover that too - so all good.

    I have a Bionics Precision rechargeable & it is a recharger that is wireless so charge once a week for 2-4 hours whilst doing whatever so it's great.

    Remember it is management not cure so however much you know it is that, there is still a little secret part of you that hopes it might be a cure, my pain still sneaks in there if you do too much!!!

    This is a great place to come & see the pros & cons of SCS so thanks.
  • to all. I just wanted to jump in on this one, well maybe not jump, I'm only a week and a half post op. I had my SCS implant surgery on 1/16 and I love it. I was not expecting the post surgery pain to be as bad as it was but it was well worth it and I am feeling much better now. I am still experimenting with my programs and getting used to having it but I feel truly blessed to have it. It took me a year and a half to get to this point with the SCS, some of that was me going back and forth a million times on whether or not I even wanted it. I had to do the research and arrive at a place where I realized there wasn't going to be a "fix" for me and that the SCS might just be the "fix" I needed to live the rest of my life with as much quality as possible. So far so good. Well, now I'm off to physical therapy for my cervical issues, it never ends =)
  • Glad to hear that you are happy with your SCS. It just gets better and better. Once you get used to it after a few months, it will be something that you don't ever want to be without. It will be a little uncomfortable for a while as the generator pocket and area the leads were mounted heal. For me, that discomfort is nothing compared to what it was like prior to.

    Thanks for the update.

  • Wow, holtpooh, I'm sorry to hear you have to have your battery replaced already. I guess I should count my blessings that my 2002 Medtronics Synergy non-rechargeable has lasted this long. I'm thinking I better schedule an appointment with my Medtronic rep for a battery check, though. I think the last time I saw him was around 2 years ago, and he said I had only used up 1/3 of my battery. I only use my SCS during the day, so maybe that's why it has lasted so long. I always turn it off at night, because I can't stand the extra stimulation when lying down.

    I have, however, been getting less coverage over my painful area, but I thought that was because at least one of my wires has broken, due to a couple of falls. Actually, I think the rep told me that. His test showed one of the leads no longer working.

    I do have a question, that is sort of off topic from the battery question. Do the newer stimulators offer pain relief at multiple, separate sites on your body? Mine is just set up to cover my left thigh (Meralgia Paresthetica), but I have developed RSD on the top of my left foot. I don't want to turn the thing up so high that I will feel tingling in my entire leg and foot, because that actually HURTS! I'd like to have tingling in my thigh, and then another program going to my foot. Do the new models do that?

    If so, I might possibly consider getting a whole new system implanted, but I don't know if I want to go through that surgery, and severe restrictions for 4-6 weeks afterward. I'm also concerned that there may be so much scar tissue around the wires in my spine, that the surgery would have complications.

    Any advice or info would be appreciated.


  • I've been keeping my SCS on my "sleep" programs for over a week due to nausea (unknown cause, but higher buzzing with the SCS does increase the nausea). As such, I have been using MUCH less battery and am charging once a week now. Interesting to see how much battery I was using!

  • That's awesome that your SCS has been going strong for 7 years now. Based on your questions, I definitely think giving your rep a shout would be the best thing to do.

    The newer stimulators and leads are capable of greater focus and it is quite possible that they may be able to provide you the coverage you need without stimulating all the area in between. I have a c-spine SCS and I can target areas very specifically.

    In my opinion, the surgery and the "quiet time" is well worth the benefit. Plus having the chance to get a new model that is smaller, stronger and more patient program friendly ... go for it!

    Call your rep and see what he has to say.

    I have a Medtronic RestoreULTRA with 2 percutaneous leads. It was implanted 22 May 08. Love it!

  • Thanks for the info. "C", now I have more hope that a new & improved model will give me relief where I really need it. I’m also really looking forward to a smaller battery pack, because my current one has occasionally given me fits of sciatica, since it appears to be resting right on that nerve.

    Another question (maybe there is another forum topic that will answer this?):

    Are the post-surgery restrictions still as severe as when I had my stim implanted in 2002? I couldn’t bend or twist at all for 4-6 weeks, couldn’t drive for 3 weeks, and worst of all, couldn’t even wash my hair. I actually had a friend come over and wash my hair in the kitchen sink for 3 weeks. The doc told me I couldn’t lift my hands above my shoulders, so I could barely even comb my hair. I live alone, so I had a group of church friends help me out with everything, even meals, but now most of them are too old! :))(

    Now, this stimulator was implanted for lower extremity coverage, so the electrodes begin at T10-11, and the incision goes down from there.

    Thanks again,
  • Well I had my new battery put in Tuesday, and I will have to say recovery this time is a cinch. Yesterday was my only bad day. Today I feel like I could go back to work. I now have the new and improved rechargeable battery that will last 9 years no matter how much I use it. I am excited!

    Rubybear wow, 7 years with the same battery is amazing. They initially only gave this battery 3-5 years. I didn't run mine at night to save the battery, but because I tend to keep mine high they told me that would drain the battery quicker (which it did). No chance of that happening with this battery, Nine years no matter what. I will say though the first sign of mine dying was loss of coverage that started about a month or two before I got the error message on my controller telling me to contact my physician that my battery was dying. As you can tell the replacement is not nearly as painful as the initial surgery. I'm sure that since you will have to have the leads replaced, it will be a little more intense, and more down time.But since you already have the pocket for the battery, that part will be easy. I do think you will find that the down time won't be nearly as long as the first time. Good luck!
  • Great to hear that the new battery surgery went so well, and that you are feeling good already! When I had my surgery in 2002, I seem to remember my 'pain in the butt' lasted about 6 weeks, long after the pain in the upper part of my back left. I'm encouraged to hear that yours is already almost pain-free.

    I'm going to need to ask my doctor alot of questions before I consider replacing my whole system, instead of just the battery. I'm concerned about scar tissue around the wires making the surgery more complicated than the initial implant. I wonder how many of these 'replacement' surgeries are successful? Wish I could find some statistics...
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