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Pocket/IPG Question

davedave Posts: 860
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:41 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
OK, got interesting question for you pros out there. My pocket/IPG has been burning the past couple of days, very similar to the burn I feel when charging. I've also been getting a pinching feeling around the IPG like its grabbing on something. The pocket is also a little more tender than usual. When I feel the skin around the area, at the top corner of the pocket, it feels like I have a broken plastic cable tie by the IPG at the top on the outside corner. Is the IPG anchored to anything or does it just float in its pocket?

I plan on contacting my Doctor on Monday to make sure everything is OK, just curious right now. Curiosity killed the cat and I'm not ready to die yet (only have 1 life).



  • One other thing, did I mention that the pocket itches?

  • The IPG is anchored inside the pocket. It is very possible to tear those attachment points loose. Just don't push on your IPG or touch it much until you see your doc. If it flips in the pocket you won't be able to charge or communicate with it until it has been surgically straightened out.

    The itching and burning can quite easily be from the irritation of tearing it loose.

    Let us know what the doc has to say.

  • Thanks C. I'll be giving my Doctor a call Monday morning. It's a little uncomfortable but it doesn't hurt. It definitely feels like the IPG is just a hair lower. It might be my imagination. If I did tear something loose, I can't imagine when I did it. It just started to feel uncomfortable last night and hasn't let up since.

    Thanks for the input.

  • Here's a quote from the implant manual
    Medtronic said:
    2. Use the suture holes in the connector block to secure the neurostimulator to the muscle
    fascia with nonabsorbable silk.
    I have torn things loose by simply turning or moving wrong. I've heard of people tearing the IPG loose in the pocket by sitting incorrectly for how the IPG is placed. So any number of things could cause it to rip loose.

    The nice thing is that a revision on the IPG isn't nearly as bad as the initial implant. Sure it's a bit sore for a few days, but not any of the intense burning that accompanies the new implant. The biggest irritant was charging through the swollen incision. I learned to always have everything fully charged before calling or seeing the doc.

  • haglandc said:

    I learned to always have everything fully charged before calling or seeing the doc.

    That's a suggestion that everyone should follow.
    I always charge before an appt. Programming can pull half the charge out of mine if he has to do it more than once or twice, which he has done in the past.
  • Just checking to see if you were able to get in to see the doc today or not.

    Hope you are feeling better.

  • No I haven't got in yet. It's complicated and frankly I'm not pleased with the situation. My PM only does the trials, therefore I have to go back to the one who did the implant. I left a message, but have not received a call back yet. I'm still pretty peeved at them from my release visit on Christmas Eve. They required me to do a drug test prior to the exam. No test, have a nice day and you still have to pay for everything. Insurance did not pick up the entire tab, so the test is costing me 220 dollars. Enough venting.

    It's a little better today, but after feeling myself up good, it appears one of the anchors (stitches) has broken. I can feel it under the skin. The IPG has shifted a little which I believe is causing the additional tenderness.

    Never a dull moment.

  • Have you contacted your rep yet? I found it very useful to get the rep involved, they tend to have a better line of communication with the docs and can generally get results quickly.

    Vent all you need to.

  • Got in to see the the Doc that did the implant and the Rep. No damage done except to my ego. Seems I stressed everything around the pocket to much. The cable tie I felt is actually where the leads go into the IPG.

    Thanks for the feedback C.

  • Well it's good that you know what did or did not happen and now you have entered into the "discovered my limit zone". That's kind of how I figure out how much I can and cannot do. If the activity I do irritates the IPG or the anchors, I know to moderate or back off.

    It is better to know than not. So don't let this hit your ego, just be grateful to know everything is still intact and now you know what you are feeling. Docs like to see that their work is holding up. So I guarantee that your doc was not put out by you being concerned and needing to find out if things were still in order.

    Hope you are feeling better.

  • I am having similar symptoms to you, Dave. At first I was proud that I was experiencing more pain in my hip than in my cervical area. Now it is worrying me because it is constant, not just when I charge. Since I've been feeling better, overall, I have begun to do more and I guess the hip pain is a side effect that I'm going to have to learn to deal with.
    What do you guys do to ease that pain? Cold? Heat? I can't find the right resolution for it, for sure. I don't think anything is wrong with it because I'm still getting my stimulation.
  • This is a new adjustment for me also. My implant doctor equates it to overworking your muscles and then having to deal with the aches and pains from that. Basically, the scar tissue gets irritated as the wires are pulled under the skin. He gave me some lidocaine patches to put over the ipg pocket, and I must say that it did help some. I would try using some ice to cool things off and the use of a NSAID for the inflammation.

  • Thanks for your quick response. I'm going to use the ice and rest it when necessary. Am already taking 500mg of Naproxen two times/day for a newer pain issue (nerve related) in my elbows and forearms. My next appointment with my PM doctor is April 1. If I'm still aching as much by then, I'll mention it to him and see what he might suggest.

    Good luck to you!
  • Have you taken a look at what clothes you are wearing on a daily basis? I have to pay special attention to that, or I can get my IPG pocket irritated even after having it implanted nearly 2 years ago. Snug underclothing or non-giving clothes like blue jeans, after a period of time, cause the pocket to ache. Even clothes that seem to be loose fitting, depending on if I am sitting or standing makes a difference on how restrictive they are across my IPG. ANYTHING that is remotely restrictive, will cause the IPG pocket to ache after just a short period of time.

  • C - I definitely think that restrictive clothes like blue jeans make a difference, especially when I'm driving a lot or bending over a lot. I've been trying to wear some kind of undergarments that always protect that area from the jeans or pants rubbing on that area, but I may have to devise some kind of pad to put there to protect it further. I wear pants (not tight) every day and Iknow that makes it worse. I'm still in the learning curve, figuring out all of this stuff. It has been a little over 3 months since my surgery. I really do appreciate all of your thoughts. I'll get it figured out eventually, I'm sure. I know that a lot of this irritation is coming because I feel so much better and even worked in my yard for the last two weekends and that was a lot of bending and standing in jeans, of course.
  • The bending doesn't help either.
  • I know. *sigh* But my PM doc says that I have no limitations (within reason)other than those I received when I had my disk replacement surgery (no rollercoasters, no skydiving, no standing on my head). I want to adjust to this thing and start getting stronger again. It has been almost 3 years since I've felt like doing anything and I am finally able to gradually work into doing some of those things I missed out on. But the bending is definitely an issue. My dear husband even planted 100 bulbs for me on Sunday afternoon so I wouldn't have to lean over to so it.
    I hope that one's body adjusts to the increased activity eventually or maybe I just have to learn what my limitations are.
  • I guess we'll learn together being that both of us are fairly new to this.

  • It is definitely a "learn as you go" place to be. We are kind of like pioneers of our own bodies. We "head West" to the land of opportunity and hope we don't get stuck in the high mountain pass in winter or blown over by a tornado.

    I still to this day learn what I can and cannot do. How far I can or cannot bend. I have just learned to be cautious and if something doesn't feel right, then I back off and don't repeat it.

    I have designed my garden and flower beds, so that I can either sit to one side or get down on all fours to work them. I pay attention to the amount of bend in my pelvis, since that drives the way my IPG moves or wires pull. by keeping that in mind, I have found I can actually do quite a lot of work without stressing my SCS. Then what I have to watch out for are other physical limitations that are masked by the SCS.

    Common sense goes a long way towards making things work out with an SCS. Trial and error are common place. It took me quite a while to figure out the best ways to keep myself comfortable without limiting my activities or damaging my SCS.

  • Honey, OMG, you just made me laugh so hard I probably knocked a lead loose! When you said you were going to have to devise some sort of padding for your battery, it made me think of an infomercial I've seen. I hope this doesn't get censored because I am not advocating this product, but I've seen this commercial for something called Booty Pop which is padded underwear to reshape your backside.

    I don't really think that would work for you, but I just pictured for a moment people buying Booty Pop padded underwear for their scs batteries.

    It does get better. I don't have to wear pants every day. If I am going to the grocery store, I tend to wear the nylon capri type exercise pants. I sit on a pillow if I know it will be for a long time. As far as rollercoasters? Always follow what your doc says. I'm not saying I've done it, but if you find a coaster that securely harnesses you in... I try to do everything in moderation, nothing in excess(not my quote), but every once in a while it's worth a little excitement.
  • Ha Ha! Glad I got a smile out of you, ernurse. I thought you were going to suggest something like a sanitary napkin stuck to my back!
    My hip pain has actually worsened in recent weeks. It didn't help that I backed into the side mirror on my car last Friday. Saw the PM doctor yesterday and he says everything is situated fine, but he did give me some sample Lidoderm patches. I just put on the 2nd one. So far, no change. He said he can inject around the site, but didn't want to do that until I tried the patches. Also, tongue in cheek, he suggested that if it was too bad, we could remove it. I don't think so!
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