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SCS for cervical?

nmacnnmac Posts: 112
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Has anyone tried this for cervical? It has been offered to me as an option by my pm. I have tried MANY tx. already and SCS and pain meds seem to be whats still available. I don't tolerate pain meds very well but I am still taking them. They seem to cause digestive problems and I think they are making me spacey, forgetful and decreasing my ability to focus. She told me that I may still need narcotics but that if it works for me maybe I could decrease my dosage. If you have tried this for Cervical Stenosis with radiating shoulder arm pain I would be interested in hearing your experience.
I was given DVD's and info for 3 different ones. They do seem similar. The 3 I was offered info for are St. Jude medical, Boston Scientific and Medtronic. I watched the videos and I think the Boston Scientific looks interesting. I think my insurance will cover it after the trial if it works for me. I am a little uneasy about having a posterior incision as it took me quit awhile to recover from my posterior surgery. Is the incision deep? Any input would be apreciated.
Severe DDD. Klippel Feil Deformity. Cervical Foraminatomy that turned into Lamy. I have tried so many treatments, therapy's and medications.


  • I have a cervical SCS that was implanted in 2008. It does a great job of helping with neck, shoulder, arm and hand pain. The incision for the leads felt like getting hit between the shoulders but it healed up quick. I no longer take any narcotic pain meds and manage with an anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxers. I would say I get about 70% relief with my SCS.

    My personal opinion on which SCS to have for a cervical issue, is a constant voltage system. The reason being, is that it allows a more dispersed signal pattern which allows greater coverage of a larger area. Since the dura in the c-spine is not as thick as the dura in the lumbar or thoracic areas, a constant voltage system is an advantage. Lower signal amplitude gives excellent coverage and longer battery life between charges.

    The constant current systems are made to automatically adjust for impedance changes that occur as the leads scar in. They can drive the signal deeper, which works great for lumbar issues. However I found that when the signal is driven too deep in a c-spine SCS, it can cause the throat to spasm, which is not a very comfortable feeling.

    Personal opinion and personal research has led me to believe that the Medtronic constant voltage systems are better suited for c-spine SCS systems.

    Maybe your doc can give you some indication on what his patients have experienced with different systems.

  • I'm PMing you a link to a nifty chart I found that compares all 3 brands. I was an L-spiney and chose to go with Boston Scientific for my trial (I don't have the permanent one as the trial failed). I did a lot of research into the brands on my own and then discussed it with my doctor and for my particular case he recommended BS. I found that from a technical standpoint, Medtronic is completely different from the ANS and BS units because of the constant voltage versus constant current (as C explained, and your doctor will likely have a preference for one or the other). Comparing ANS to BS it mainly comes down to smaller issues like battery life, charging, battery size, rep coverage of your area, etc...

    Hope this helps...Ultimately the brand doesn't matter so much as whether or not it works.
  • Thanks for your input. The chart that Lala sent me is very interesting. I need to spend some more time trying to decipher which one might work best for me. I am a little overwhelmed by my PM giving me the videos and stating that I seem to be a pretty bright person and that I should do some research before deciding if I want to try this. I have the summer off from work so it would be the ideal time to give it a try. I am sure when I make up my mind I will have more ????? It is really helpful to hear other spiney's experiences.
    Severe DDD. Klippel Feil Deformity. Cervical Foraminatomy that turned into Lamy. I have tried so many treatments, therapy's and medications.
  • I love my Boston Scientific I did a lot of research
    and i like this one a lot better.

  • I have a failed Cervical fusion C5-6, C6-7, vocal cord paralysis due to fusion and also have Lumbar issues L4, L5 and S1 and had a complete tear of rt rotator cuff which is now retorn.
    My neurologist is referring me to a dr to discuss SCS and pain pump.
    My question is can the SCS and pain pump work on all levels of the spine at the same time. This is all new to me and I know I need to do alot of research but since so many of you have gone through the procedures I thought perhaps you could give me a little insight. Feel free to PM if you prefer.
    Thank you so much for any advice.
  • Ouch!!!! Interesting. I was told that they rarely put pain pumps in people unless they have a terminal illness or cancer by my PM at a major teaching hospital. Keep us posted. Hope you feel better soon!
    Severe DDD. Klippel Feil Deformity. Cervical Foraminatomy that turned into Lamy. I have tried so many treatments, therapy's and medications.
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