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Got my Surgery Date

chileroxcchilerox Posts: 69
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
So I had my trial stimulator removed on Tuesday, and they were doing some major eye rolling when I told them who my insurance is and said they have a lot of trouble with them. I told them that they approved the trial in less than 3 days, so with the 90-100% pain reduction I was hoping that they would get it turned around fairly quickly.

Well, this morning I had a phone call. I was asleep and didn't recognize the number, so I almost didn't answer it, but I'm glad I did. It was the surgeon's office calling to set up my surgery date and time!

The first available was March 11th, but I wanted a little more time to recover from the trial before then. Plus my boyfriend is taking the 10th to the 12th off work, and after several weeks of working 80 hours a week, this will be my one good chance to spend a good chunk of time with him before my surgery.

The 11th isn't really an option anyway, because my little brother is having knee surgery tomorrow and he will still be on crutches when that rolls around. Plus my mom is flying back home on the 1st, and if she turned around a week later to come back for my surgery my dad would flip his lid.

So anyway, I got in the day after my grandma's 90th birthday - March 23rd, at 9:30 a.m. My parents are flying out to Texas and we will be driving out (my grandparents live on the other side of the state), so my dad will fly back as planned and my mom will drive back to Austin with me for the surgery.

Just a couple of questions...

They're still going to have to wake me up to make sure the leads are positioned properly, right?

How long did it take for your Reps to tweak the programming on your stims after the surgery? My mom is hoping that we won't be stuck in Austin for another week, but I'm trying to tell her not to count her chickens before they're hatched in case it takes Hunter a while to get everything done just right.

How much worse is the permanent surgery than the trial? I thought that there were only a couple inches of wire in there for the trial, but it was more like half a foot(!). This makes me wonder how many laminectomies are going to end up happening, etc.

My wires went in at around L1 (judging by the charts and how far up my back they were by comparison) and then six inches or so up from there.

I'm definitely going to be counting the days...


  • You will be awake for the whole procedure and pretty sore after. You will have more pain but it is not major pain.
    I just can't remember now how long I was taped up but I would plan an being there a week or so. My PM did not put in any stitches or staples but others do. The pocket may burn some for a while although mine did not but others did. The first 2 or 3 days I slept in a recliner but after that slept in a bed on my back with no problems.
    I was in the hospital over night but most are not. The rep came to give me programs the next morning but as soon as the SCS was turned on muscle spasams hit my legs and I could not concentrate on what I was being told(I was busy kicking my legs) so he just left it until my first visit back to my Doctor which was in a few days.
    I am sure others can remember having their implant better than I and can give you more information.
    I am so happy your trial was good and wish you a happy life now that you will be in less pain with the SCS.
    Cheers :H
    Patsy W

    I just wanted to add. If you had a favorite program you used during your trial make sure you ask your rep to add that one back. And if you used it at night ask for a night time program. I could not sleep with mine one, but that is just me,some people do sleep with their's on.
    Best of luck to you.
    I am sure our "C" will will give you a lot of good advice.
  • The excitement must be building now. Here is my attempt at answering some of your questions.

    They're still going to have to wake me up to make sure the leads are positioned properly, right?
    During my permanent implant, I was awake when I entered the OR, put out, the woken up to insure that proper coverage was achieved.

    How long did it take for your Reps to tweak the programming on your stims after the surgery?
    My Rep gave me the same programs that I was using at the end of my trial. I had the Rep meet me for my post-op appt, where they added some additional programs. I've has a total of 4 programming sessions since my surgery 3 months ago. What you want to do is make sure that you get it right, so be prepared to tweak the system over the next several months.

    How much worse is the permanent surgery than the trial?
    My trial was a walk in the park, whereas my permanent placement was a lot more difficult for me. It seems some folks have no problems with any of the procedures and others have a very difficult time. My suggestion would be to hope for the best and expect the worst.

    This makes me wonder how many laminectomies are going to end up happening?
    This depends on which leads you have implanted. There are percutaneous and surgical leads. Your trial most likely used the percutaneous leads. The surgical leads require a laminotimy to be performed to get the lead in place, whereas the percutaneous leads are inserted with a needle.

    Don't worry to much. Better days are coming your way.


  • The excitement is definitely building. I'm counting down the days - okay, actually my phone is counting them for me, lol.

    The one downside to everything is that I will be moving sometime around April 1st, so I'm going to have to find plenty of friends who will be able to pack all my stuff (most of which is already packed and in storage), drive it down there, and carry it all into the new place. On the bright side, my roommate is going out of her way to make sure we either get a ground floor apartment or one in a building with an elevator, just in case I have bad days.

    I have another week and a half or so to go, and then everything will turn into a huge whirlwind - Austin to spend time with my boyfriend during his vacation, then Houston to look at apartments, then to Lufkin for my grandma's 90th birthday, then back to Austin for my surgery and back to Houston.

    At this point I'm honestly thinking that as long as I have a bed to sleep in and a chair to sit in I'll be okay for a while - at least until I can get all my stuff moved.

    After a week with no pain, the last few days have really been awful. I feel like I had a taste of a new life and someone ripped it away. I want it back!
  • I think everyone feels that let down...I feel great and then what?...do you have to remove it...that is just plain cruel.

    They will wake you in the permanent placement...but I was a little less aware of what was going on. They said I talked to them but I don't remember it.

    Rep should be able to get you programed before they let you leave the hospital...I stayed overnight but most do not. You will have a follow up about 4-6 days after and they will tweak the program then. I had to return once a week for 3 weeks, then every other week for 3 visits and then once a month...until I had to have a revision and I am back to square one...but the coverage now is super...I don't want them to mess with my programs. :(

    I can't say the permanent was all that bad...there was incision pain but with any surgery you have to expect that. The incision pain was far less than what I was dealing with daily so it was a piece of cake for me...but others have said they experienced more pain.

    Don't worry like Dave said better days are coming your way.

  • So today I was driving back from San Angelo to Abilene and I got a voicemail from my Medtronics Rep. Called him back when I got home. He wanted to check up and see how I was doing, and see if the paperwork had been submitted for my permanent implant yet. He was going to offer to help expedite it, so he was pretty surprised to hear that I'd gotten a call from the surgeon two days after having the trial removed.

    I forgot to change my pain patch before leaving town yesterday and of course didn't have it with me so I could change it when I remembered, so I had to go without for a good 24 hours. My legs hurt like crazy. My left hip, which is technically worse but generally doesn't bother me as much kept cramping up. And then I got to drive back through snow and rain, so it was more like ice skating in a truck than driving.

    Finally back home, laying in bed trying to warm up. I think I'm going to go knit for a while.
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