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stinger66sstinger66 Posts: 67
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Pain Management
Saw doc last week & I mentioned to him that I had heard of the scs & the pain pump & asked if these could be for me. He said I was too young for the pain pump but the scs could possibly work. I got the packet in the mail today about the scs. Several questions if anyone could help.

How exactly do they do a trial?
Are you under general anethesia?
Big incisions?
How do you or they know if it is in the right spot?
Do you have wires hanging outside of you?
If someone could explain it step by step I would really appreciate it. Thanks,

Norm may we all become PAINFREE!!! :)


  • To see the torch being passed to newer members with SCS's. Rock on Wrambler ... Rock on.

  • Is indeed everything! Is it not? My SCS trial started this morning.

    Today I got up at 7:20 am and drank a cup of black coffee, took a shower and at 8:35 my wife drove me to my PM office.

    Once there and checked in, they took me back to a patient room, read me all the little details of what could go wrong and had me sign that I understood all this.

    They left me with a butt in the wind gown and told me to disrobe and place sheet on my lap so I would not scare anyone in the hall if the door was open!

    About 9:45 they walked me across the hall, nice drafty hall too. They had me lay down on the standard ESI table. They spend quite a while making sure I was as comfortable as possible on such a table. shot me up with not quite enough Versed and proceeded.

    The PM used a flouroscope to place a lead. as usual I was difficult! First he could not get the lead close, so he pulled it back changed the angle and went again, still no dice. He then poked a fresh hole and tried again. This time he managed to get it where he wanted to see it.

    Once it is in place the Medtronic rep attempts to get me tingling in the right place! Nope, all he got was contractions. They repostioned it twice, nada, zip, zilch...

    They disconnect everything. Pull the lead and punch a third hole in between my shoulder blades. More pressure pushing prodding etc, Finally he gets it where he wants it.
    The rep hooks up again and applies power. again with the contractions! I was starting to panic.

    They pull it back slightly and go again. Finally, I get tingling and in the right area! So, They disconnect again.
    Sew the lead down and proceed to seal me up. Tape down the pack and all assorted attachements!

    They move me to a gurney and roll me out. A cup of coffee and a programming session and I am home!

    I am sure there are more questions.
    I can add to this later.
    Pain? Yes, about as much as an esi, maybe a bit more.
    Does it work for me? YES! Well almost, kind of. I wish it had just a but more coverage up the shoulder but it is very close to complete! I am very nervous about costs, insurance, more surgery etc,

    Oh, yeah, They put me in a bloody cervical collar! Told me it was a must! Rats! At least it is a soft one and kind of comfy!

    My pain is right shoulder and upper arm. My trial will actually last till next Thursday morning.

    There are a few pics from others down in my SCS thread in Mind/body. I will attempt to link it later.

    Wires? For the trial? Yes there is a small connection box taped to my back and all the stuff is taped down. There is also a loop taped in so that if I snag the wire to my belt pack it will provide a safety so I don't yank my wires out! Mine is Medtronic. I have a belt pack that also unplugs from the wire. There is very little danger of me pulling my wires out. I have a wireless control that is placed against the belt pack to vary the settings.

    Limitation for my trial, No bending at the waist?
    No BLT, no picking up over 5lbs, no arms over head. All the usual back injury restrictions. I can drive, but the request I turn the unit off so it is not in danger of making me lose control.

    Edit: incisions for the trial are tiny. They use a large cath needle to thread the lead up in between the vertabrae.
    I learned today I have a dip in my upper back that makes placing the lead difficult! I asked if it was because I suffered endplate fractures of T3-T5 and was told that i smost likely the reason. A normal person will not have this issue, The problem? Is any of us here actually "normal"?
    I'm tired I can come back and edit or add more later.
  • If the 66 behind your name is the year you were born then you are not too young for a pain pump. My younger sister was born in 67 and she has had a pain pump now for about 3 years. It is just your doctor's opinion that you are too young.

    I had my trial SCS Feb 24-27 and will get my permanent implant on the 24th of this month. <:P <:P <:P I didnt have quite as many issues with the placement as Wrambler did but then I didnt have previous injury. I had no incisions for the trial - just a small hole where they put the needle. My unit was a medtronic unit as well and they did much the same thing with me as with Wrambler. You will have only 1 wire (mine was more like a cord) hanging out of you. Once the lead is place, the SCS rep will hook up the unit and see if all is working and if the coverage is in the right area. If it is, the doc finishes up with his part of it - stitching the lead in place - then you go back to a room. The SCS Rep will come in and program your battery pack. They also teach you how to change programs, increase or decrease the amount of sensation you are feeling, etc. For me the pain relief was immediate. For the first time in 27 months I was able to say "I feel great" and know it was true. I got about 95% pain relief with my SCS so now I am counting down the days to my permanent implant.

    Yes there is some discomfort to the SCS trial, but for the pain relief I received - it was way more than worth it. I had a few problems with the Adhesive they used to hold everything in place......they pulled it way too tight. Once my mom peeled up the adhesive and laid it back down loosely and taped it back in place I was good to go.

    Hope this helps. I will keep watching this post to see if you have any more questions.

  • I had a stimulator implanted on 1/16/09 (am 29 yr. old female) and I had all of the same questions. The answers to these questions vary depending on your doctor..I can tell you my experience though.

    1) my trial was done at the pain mgmtm center w/no sedation. they wanted me to be awake so they could talk to me. They gave me local anesthetic and then used an epidural in order to feed the leads through. THey used a fluoroscope )xray machine) to guide the wires into the right place and then they turned the stim. on very. very slowly to ask me where I felt it and adjusted it accordingly. You just have big bandaid holes for the trial

    2) My surgery was under general. My incisions are like 2.5 inches long, I'd say.

    3) there are wires hanging out of you for the temp. trial part but they bandage you up pretty well. For the perm. implant, the wires are inside of you.

    If you want more information and want to see pics. of what the incisions look like and what my surgery was like and my day to day recovery, I have a blog that you could visit. I started it for people just like you who have questions (as I was there less than 6 months ago!). Please come visit if you think it will help you!


    PS- as I said, I am 29 and my doctors were willing to let me trial the pump. FYI. I think they do prefer trying the SCS FIRST though because it is less conservative in the sense that it is non-medication.
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