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? regarding Lumbar SCS battery placement

RwillRRwill Posts: 300
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
I am wanting to poll SCS patients to see where their battery pack was placed. I thought because I have L4-5,L5-S1 issues it would automatically be placed in my butt cheek, but I have read other stories and learned that it is not always the case.

If you have it placed in your buttock do you have issues when sitting? I am also worried if it is successful and I firm my buns up what will happen? I am not a big person but with the lack of exercise things have gotten a little softer. I don't want to exercise again and have issues with my battery pack.

Thanks for responding to all my silly questions. Like others I like to be prepared and have as much knowledge as I can.


  • My battery is placed in my upper right buttocks area. I actually like the placement, because in the overall scheme of things it works out better with less hassle. If it were placed in the abdomen or upper torso (Since mine is for a c-spine SCS)then there would be more of a challenge tunneling the wires around. Also charging is very easy for me since I can basically sit back in the recliner and get excellent signal strength. It would be uncomfortable trying to charge from the front or under the arm.

    As far as exercise, yes as things tone up, it can cause temporary irritation to the IPG pocket, but that resolves in a few hours. Lunges seem to irritate it the most. Riding an exercise bike or walking on inclines is not a problem.

    I did yoga the first year I had my SCS and found it easy to work around having the battery in the back side, however I wound up tearing the anchors to my leads loose and the doc said no more yoga.

    I do all kinds of home improvement projects and since I'm a mechanic, I'm used to crawling on the ground under cars and aircraft, and I find my IPG is no big deal crawling under the house or in the attic.

    I also ride horses and find that it is a non-issue there. I believe if my IPG were in my abdomen I would have more issues.

    Talk to your doc and see what his experience has shown as to what placement has fewer complications. My doc briefed me on all the placements and why he chose the one for me and why he didn't chose the others.

  • No Yoga!!!!!!! Now I am really sad that is my most favorite thing in the world. I have so been hoping to get back to it. Oh well guess I will adjust if things turn out.
  • Yes I was bummed about the yoga restriction. Basically I tore the anchors loose and then the wires bunched up mid torso and broke out of the channel that was created for them. Doc had to pull the wires back out of that, recreate my strain relief loops and place new anchors. Of course I can still do some poses, but none that require any significant bending of the torso.

    Innovate, adapt and overcome.
  • I like that innovate, adapt and overcome that is perfect!! Thanks for all your advice!! Renea'
  • You will find that with any placement you will indeed adapt and overcome. Mine is just to the rear of my right side above or on the belt line. I had gone to great lengths to make sure it was known that I had decided at the time I wanted it in my right front.

    I woke up with it wear it is now. When I asked the PM's PA why, he ignored me! My attorney basically said "no harm, no foul". She said we may be able to get it moved or a minimal settlement, but it was something that fighting over would likely cause more stress than rewards. I sure don't want them cutting me.

    Thing I would recommend is that for people with problems on one side, get the ipg on the other side!
    My reasoning for wanting it on the right was so I would have a side to sleep on after surgery as my right shoulder is my problem area. That was a mistake I live with every time I charge. It is difficult and painful to hold the charging unit just right and get everything going. I really wish I had this knowledge before hand. Hind sight and all that! Plus with the ipg up higher I can not move around while it is charging. The charging pad will slide down and lose connection. I have to stick myself in the recliner and wait it out.

    If you decide you want it in a certain place, make the surgeon mark the spot!!!
  • I can't believe he totally ignored you like that, doctors are amazing. If he had a specific reason as to why he didn't do what you asked then he should have been man enough to talk to you about it, geez!! As to putting it on the side that doesn't hurt there isn't one. I have lower back pain and pain in both of my legs. I will definately have to talk to him about charging the unit and what would be the best place. Guess I'll make sure it is writing if the trial works and I go in for the final. They have you sign all that paperwork in the hospital I will just make sure that they know what I want!! This is all such good information thanks to everyone!! I emailed someone through the St Judes website yesterday they have what they call patient Ambassadors. I wanted to talk to someone who had the Ion Mini and see how they like it etc....hopefully they will email back soon.
  • If I'm not mistaken you have a medtronic like me. Mine is on the opposite side as yours but basically the same location. To stop the sliding, I did 2 things:

    1.) Put the extender adapter over the top of the charging belt part that holds the charger in place to provide a little space between your skin and the charger.

    2.) I cut up an old pair of boxers and lay the cloth down before I snap the charger in place. Works great in reducing the burn and stops the slide also.

    Give that a try. I've been able to walk around the house more as I'm charging now. Before that, I was tied to the couch for several hours, which sometimes isn't a bad thing (built in excuse to be a bum).

  • Thanks, I have found it stays a bit better if I have a t-shirt on, but while it still charges at all 8 bars of strength it still wants to move if I move to much.

    probably because my current condition leaves a "downhill" slope and that gravity thing doesn't help either!
  • So you can be mobile when charging? I guess I am picturing something that goes over the battery pack and that has to be plugged in to a socket. I haven't been able to find detailed infor about charging a unit. Thanks for answering my continuing questions.
  • The recharging system has a storage battery that you plug into the wall and charge as you envisioned. This storage battery is permanently wired to a plate style antenna (about the size of a beverage coaster) which is then attached to a flexible belt.

    You strap the belt around yourself lining the plate up over top of your implanted battery. This storage battery then recharges your implanted battery through the skin.

    I use another belt (any average belt in your closet will do) to strap the storage battery to so that I can have hands free and not drop the storage battery.

    So basically I have two belts, one flexible one standard. One is passed through a belt loop on the case of the storage battery, the other is attached to the plate antenna which is also hard wired to the storage battery.

    Once you are done charging, you plug the external storage battery back into the wall and recharge the recharger.

    Basically I can travel with my "kit" and if I leave home with a full charge of both the implanted and external storage batteries, I can survive 3 to 4 weeks without an electrical outlet to plug things in to.

    Hopefully I didn't just add more confusion.

  • Thanks C that's exactly what I needed to know. I can totally picure it. I have heard people mentioning that it gets hot on your skin. Has that happened to you?

    Thanks, Renea'
  • I learned that if I charge through a pair of running shorts or wind pants (the thin stuff) it not only keeps the heat problem from showing up, but it allows the plate antenna to move ever so slightly. By allowing the antenna to move ever so slightly, keeps the tension off my IPG and keeps things from getting irritated by the charging. I cannot charge through any cotton materials, they are just dense enough to reduce signal strength and cotton tends to grab hold more and causes IPG pocket irritation. Ever since I started charging through the running shorts, I have eliminated all heat issues and reduced charging time by having full signal strength.

    I do not recommend charging via direct skin contact. It is a guaranteed way to have heat issues as well as pocket irritation.

  • Wow, the charging you guys describe is so different than mine. I have an adhesive patch that is two sided, one side sticks to the charger and the other side sticks to me (very well, I must say...had to get some help about how sticky it was because it hurt to remove it). As long as I don't bend alot, my Boston Scientific Precision charges fine while I move. I've started doing it on long car rides or while folding laundry or cooking and it works well. Seems to take about two hours for me to charge fully, but I don't have to charge but every couple of weeks and I do it when I go from 3 bars to 2.
  • honeysmom said:
    Wow, the charging you guys describe is so different than mine. I have an adhesive patch that is two sided, one side sticks to the charger and the other side sticks to me (very well, I must say...had to get some help about how sticky it was because it hurt to remove it).
    Mine is a Medtronic Advanced Ultra and it has the largest battery that company still used when I had it implanted. I can go for as long as a month without recharging, but it can take 4 hours to recharge fully if I let it get down below 1/4 charge. I try to just keep it between 1/4 and 3/4 charged. I've been so busy doing things the last month that the few times I could have gotten it fully charged I did not think to do so.
    I guess that is a good thing! To be able to forget about it I mean!
  • Granted, I'm a total anomaly when it comes to charging, but.....

    I think part of the heat/irritation thing depends the individual and their sensitivities. I charge directly on my skin, and have been for quite a while. I've never had any problems with heat building up and with the exception of the healing period immediately after the implant, I haven't had any problems with irritation as a result of charging. I have had problems with irritation at other times, but not related to charging.

    I also get and keep a stronger signal if I'm up and moving while I charge, rather than sitting in a chair or laying down. Normally, I only get 6 bars charging, for reasons that aren't important. The one time I charged with 8 bars the entire time, I was charging while I was out in the yard, pruning trees. If I lay on my bed while I charge, my signal frequently drops from 6 to 2 bars, with the slightest changes in position, and then I have to flop around like a beached whale trying to get whatever moved to unmove.

    I'm also an example of the huge variation in the charging needs, based on my lead choice and program parameters. With my current programming, I have to charge for 4 to 5 hours, every 7-8 weeks. If I leave home with my implant and charger both fully charged, I don't need to plug anything in for 5-6 months.


    Oh, and my battery pack was implanted in my lower back, just above the waist. It's literally the only thing about the SCS that I truly dislike.
  • BionicWoman said:


    Oh, and my battery pack was implanted in my lower back, just above the waist. It's literally the only thing about the SCS that I truly dislike.

    Yeah, my gripe entirely, why did they ignore my specific request for placement and just the general location of the thing.

    Part of it is my fault, If would get motivated and lose some weight the belt would stay more in place.

    I have charged, both to skin and through T-shirts, never had much trouble getting all 8 bars and never noticed any heat problems.
  • on what device you have. Bionicwoman-7 to 8 weeks inbetween charging thats crazy wow. Of all the research I've done I haven't seen anyone who can go that long. What device to you have? I was scheduled on Aug 5 but I need to move the appointment so my hubby can drive me hoping for Aug 8. At least I've got the approval and can get going on this....
  • I have the Medtronic RestoreUltra IPG with the Specify 5-6-5 paddle lead implanted at T7/T8. With the program I use most of the time, I have coverage beginning at my bra line, then going down through my lower back, both hips, and down both legs, all the way to the tips of my toes.

    The last time I met with my rep, we were talking about my power usage and the difference between the programming available with the tripolar paddle lead vs. the percutaneous leads. My rep said that with the closest possible match to my programs on a percutaneous lead set, I would have to recharge 3-5 times a day, just to cope with the power usage.

    The most interesting part is I use a fairly low amplitude, fairly low pulse widths, and a VERY, VERY low rate to get the coverage I have. It's not about power, it's about depth of penetration and the ability to recruit the deeper nerve fibers, without overstimulating the more superficial ones.

  • Thanks Bionicwoman for the info. it is sure any amazing piece of equipment....
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