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having a spinal stimulator implanted thorasic region of the spine

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Chronic Pain
could anyone give me some information on spinal stimulator surgery. i went and had the trial done now i am going on the 27th to have the impant done. my surgeon told me it was going to be very painful because after he cuts through the skin he is going to have to spread my muscles to get to my spine to place the lead. he told me the local will not help with the pain while he spreads the muscle so i will be in extreme pain for about 15 minutes. has anyone else had this type of surgery and if so can you tell me how painful it really is?


  • I just got off the phone with my 28 yr old daughter. I asked her how painful it was. She is on her 3rd one. The 1st one the battery was suposed to last 6yrs it went 2yrs & had to be removed. The 2nd stimulator was put in place & had rechargable batteries. I use to tease her about backing up to the wall & plugging in at nite. That one the leads came undone & had to have it removed last spring & Medtronics reimbursed her for the cost of the stimulator but not the surgery. She said all 3 times she was put under so the only pain was from the meds wearing off.
  • I had my permanent implant surgery on 1/16/09 and no, the procedure itself was not painful at all. I remember them asking me if I was feeling the stimulation in the right place, to which I answered "yes but a little too strong". That is all I remember, it definately wasn't painful though. The post surgery pain was more painful than I expected though, in the thoracic area. I am 3 weeks post op and would do it many times over to get these results. I love my SCS and I think it is well worth any discomfort you may have. It is definately not anything to be nervous about, you will be just fine.
  • This is odd - sounds like you are getting paddle leads, which are sewn in place. The percutaneous leads are threaded up your epidural space and the only thing that hurts is the insertion of the needle. Once the leads are placed, they knock you out and finish.

    Your doctor is keeping you awake for the paddle lead placement? Had my doctor decided on the paddle leads, he told me I would be knocked out. They would have placed the paddle lead and done muscle testing (sorry, mind blank here) to tell if it was in the right place. He said it was too painful to be awake for that.

    However, with the easier percutaneous leads, you have to be awake to say "yes or no" as they move the leads, turn them on, and ask if they are covering your pain area.

    Did your doctor mention the laminotomy - removing of some bone? Did he say he was going to "sew in" your lead?

    Percutaneous leads start with an injection in your low back with an epidural type needle, and then one lead at a time (if you get more than one) is threaded up through your epidural space/fluid to the thoracic area.

    The only muscle spreading I'm aware of would be the paddle leads?

    Did he mention that once the lead(s) is placed, that he will knock you out to do the tunneling of the wires and placement of the pulse generator?

    If you don't have answers to those questions, I would definitely ask him before I went forward. Maybe someone here was awake for the entire paddle lead experience, but 2 neurosurgeons told me I would not be awake for that if we ended up going that route.

    Good to ask ahead of time!!

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