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SCS at 4 1/2 months post op... Please help..

Nicole74NNicole74 Posts: 123
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm 4 1/2 months post op of ACDF C5-C6 and I'm still in a great deal amount of pain. I'm about the same, maybe a little bit less then pre surgery. My daily migraines have gone away and I've returned some of my stregnth back. I'm in PM and I had several diagnostic nerve blocks and one ESI. The ESI gave me quite a bit relief, but only for a weeek.

I do currently have 2 herniated discs(one above/one below the fusion), but they are not on the spinal cord as of yet, according to the MRI. I know I will need them fused in the future, but I really want to put it off as long as I can. I'm currently 34 years old.

I had asked for another ESI, because of the great relief for the one week and it did take some of the pain down, but PM doctor says it's not going to work. Now he want's to put in a spinal cord stimulator and wants to do it right away.

Is it too soon to be pushing this or do you think I should go ahead with the trial? I've been reading up on it and this is not something to take lightly. My pain levels are a constant 5-7 with pain meds. The levels use to go to 10 before surgery and right after. I have not had a 10 episode since the last steroid shot that was performed on my C6-C7.

Thanks for all your advice.


  • I'm almost 5 months post op.
  • I probably shouldn't be responding since I have only had lumbar issues, but I have always been advised that a SCS was something considered as a LAST resort. At least as far as lumbar surgeries are concerned, four or five months is still early in your recovery. Perhaps he sees something he has not talked with you about, but barring that, it would seem too early to be talking SCS.

    I hope cervical spineys will chime in and tell me if I am wrong here!!
  • After Surgery did you wear your collar the first 3 months? Did you follow all the restrictions the doctor gave you?

    When I had my fusion I followed the surgeons restrictions until I was released and at 4 months I still had this fatigue feeling and mild pain in the neck only. He said the neck pain wouldn't be eliminated only limb pain. He was right!
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • I did not have a collar for the post op. Yes, I followed all of the restrictions. I was told the neck pain and arm pain would be relieved right after surgery. I still have both, although the neck pain is much worse then the arm pain. I really need to know if this is too soon to consider the SCS. The PM said the SCS will be removed when I have my next fusion. I need a 3 level fusion to fix the other two discs.
  • Wow!! That was quite a game of monster!! :O

    I would get another opinion before proceeding with the SCS and with the additional surgery. I don't understand why doctors recommend SCS so casually. It too is an invasive procedure and not everyone does well with it.

    When were you planning on the additional fusion surgery?
  • What ERNURSE said! PM docs love to use the things they are trained in, the SCS being one of them. I would talk to a neurosurgeon before letting a PM doc install an SCS as a temporary measure.

    I have a c-spine SCS and it works better on arm pain than neck pain. So if your issue is reverse, I wouldn't be searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

  • SCS are a last resort when you are no longer a surgical candidate. Each brand that I checked out clearly states on the company's website that they are only for patients who are NOT surgical candidates. I am a lumbar person, but a SCS is not something you put in and then take out because it's time for surgery. These things can cost $90000, not including anesthesia fee, etc. Plus, keep in mind, with a SCS, you want scar tissue to form to hold the lead/paddles in place in your epidural space. Why would you want to increase damage if you're headed for surgery anyway?

    Holy cow, you're not even 6 months postop and your doc is pushing for a SCS???? I'd seriously get a second opinion outside of his group. That sends up serious red flags to me.

    Do you realize that once you have a SCS, you can NEVER have an MRI of any body part while the device is in?

    In my opinion, you have to get a second opinion. You are too soon postop and a SCS is a permanent treatment for patients who are NOT potential surgical candidates. If you go to the chronic pain or pain management forums, you will see posts by folks who have SCS. They are not to be taken lightly. And you sure don't want a doctor dismissing your problems because you have a SCS when you sound like you plan on having future surgery.

    Edited my post to put the correct number of zero's after the 9.
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