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edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
can anyone tell me about the bone stimulator or have you used it after you back surgery? i was informed by phone from the dr.s nurse i will have to have one, due to my diabetes, and multilevel fusion. anything you can tell me about it or your experience with it, and how long you wore it will be greatly appreciated


surg march 8th


  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    There may be a few different types out there but I will tell you about the one I have


    You may be able to access the patient brochure on this site, I tried and it gave me an error so you may have to do more searching or research. Keep in mind that there are different types but from what I understand most are similar to this, especially if you will be in a brace after surgery.

    This type has two 3" self-stinging electrodes that sit on each side of my incision at the level to be fused. Each electrode pad has about 4" of lead hanging off of it. Then the leads go into long cords that connect to the battery powered electrical unit which has a case.

    I was given two sets of cords to connect to the leads, one that is "just enough" and one if I find the first is not enough. I was also given 2 batteries with it's own charger unit. I change the battery each night as it lasts at least 24 hours. They also provided me with many electrodes and I can get more as needed. The electrode pads stay on my back until they fall off and then I replace them. I've had to replace one this week, but the other is fine. And I can call them for more if needed. I can shower with the electrode leads on (but I'm disconnected from the cords and electric battery pack).

    The unit that everything connects into is about the size of a my blackberry curve. I wear the electrodes 24 hours a day and the only time I am not connected to the battery pack is when I'm showering.

    The spinal fusion stimulator delivers an electrical treatment signal that is intended to hep your back heal. The signal operates at a high frequency. You will not hear or feel the unit in use.

    If one of the leads comes disconnected from the cord the battery pack beeps and I have to reconnect. I have found it easiest to wear shorts at night and put the unit in my pocket. I have a few pairs of shorts that are elastic and too large for me (I rarely wear them) so those work great. During the day I either have the battery pack in pocket of my sweats, pocket of my t-shirts (I purchased a bunch of cheap shirts for the surgery to accommodate the brace and got lucky that each has a breast pocket I can put the unit in. The rep gave me a belt to use to hold the battery pack but it's more like a backpack strap, so I found an old elastic belt I had that works better and I can easily use that when wearing my brace.

    The special shirts, shorts and sweats I bought have all been worth it and are relatively inexpensive. I'll plan on donating them after surgery and recovery. Though I only have 5 shirts so we are doing laundry all the time, they may be in poor condition when we're done!
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • thanks so much for the information really helped me to understand what it is and does

  • I have to wear one also, everyday for 4 hours. Doc said I will have to use it for 1 year. Not too bad to wear, except I'm a thin person and can't seem to get it adjusted right. Tends to slid down when I stand or walk. good luck on your surgery ;)

  • I'm aware that you are the next one in our 'March Surgeries' list to have their surgery.

    How are you getting on with your preparations?
    How are you feeling about it all? (I am having occasions when I just burst into tears because I am feeling very stressed.)

    Take care, and have a good weekend. Have you got anything nice planned?
  • When I had my 3-level lumbar fusion, the OS inserted a bone growth stimulator, the electrodes were placed to the new bone implant sites and the small battery pack just under the skin. I did not feel a thing, and it did not bother me at all. The battery was supposed to work for 6 months, but I was mostly fused by then. At that time the battery pack could have been removed (simple outpatient procedure) but since I am not even aware of it, I did not bother, so it just sits there. Ask your surgeon about it, I guess it depends on your insurance if they allowed to use it or not.

  • well ive got all the things from the list and packing my suitcase tonight, gotta say im scared to death, monday comes soon, and man do i dred it im gonna ask for something in my iv for nerves lol, no just gonna be at home this weekend and get my stuff together as ill be spending the first couple of weeks with my son, he lives near the hospital, and his fiance is an occupational nurse there so she will be alot of help to me. thanks so much for your comments.
  • Hi

    I had one for both surgeries. I think they work. My doc and insurance thinks they work too.

    Last time the thing was programmed for so many treatments 30 min each day as I recall.

    Good luck with yours.

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