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Insurance approved trial. Questions!

nmacnnmac Posts: 112
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Got a call today that I was approved for Medtronic trial. The receptionist set up 3 appt. She couldn't answer any of my questions. I am set up to have the device trial starting 8-17. All I know so far is that I will be sedated and I am scheduled for a 2.5 hour appt.that day. The med assist is to call me to answer my questions sometime next week. I have some questions but I thought I would ask you'll what questions you would ask to see if I am covering my basis. I am wondering how you evualated your response to SCS. Did you continue to take pain meds during the trial? I am scared and excited at the same time.
Thanks for your support!
Severe DDD. Klippel Feil Deformity. Cervical Foraminatomy that turned into Lamy. I have tried so many treatments, therapy's and medications.


  • If you check out the info in this link http://www.spine-health.com/forum/spinal-cord-stimulation/scs-trial-faqs You will see what some of the more common questions and answers are.

    As far as pain meds during the trial, that is specific to your doctor. Every doctor seems to have a different preference in regards to whether or not you continue normal pain meds during the trial.

    You will be able to tell if the trial is working for you if it helps with your normal pain. Only you can say whether or not the relief is adequate enough to proceed with getting the permanent implant.

    The good thing is, that we are all of us here. So during your trial we can better answer your questions and concerns as they come up. There are so many questions that you will come up with once your trial begins, that won't make much sense to you prior to the trial. Don't worry, you won't be going through this alone. We're not going anywhere and you know how to find us.

    Congrats on getting your approval and date.

  • just remember you will be a bit sore after surgery for trial. It will only last a few days. yes i did take my med before and after.And I still taking them.
    I am about 4 month out. And I am still loveing my SCS

  • My Hubby is very concerned that I am going to do this. He thinks I should start writing a pain journal now. Then continue it through the trial. He is concerned that something might go wrong during the trial. He will support me in this but if anything goes wrong he many say " I warned you that something bad might happen" It is difficult to discuss this with him.
    I also explained it to one of my daughters. She thought it was an extreme thing to try.
    My CoWorker/friend thinks that it is worth a try. She has a medical background as I do.
    I am having a hard time with all the negative comments. I know that they are just concerned. Thanks for letting me vent.
    Severe DDD. Klippel Feil Deformity. Cervical Foraminatomy that turned into Lamy. I have tried so many treatments, therapy's and medications.
  • I was given a pain journal to keep during my trial by the SCS Rep. You need to got into the trial with the correct mindset. SCS is meant to only help with 50% of your pain. It is not a cure all. The key point to remember is that the surgical process is reversible. Yes you will be sore because of the incision. But if you get up and move some it will aide in recovery. Having a medical background, you know that getting up and around aides in your recovery. Just do not over due it. The trial is for a very short period which in my opinion is not very good. But insurance does not allow too much longer. I had my permanant implant done on July 8 2009 and thought it was going to be a cure all. But now i realize it is not. But if i do not like what is going on with it i can always request reprogramming or just turn it off. Ive had it reprogrammed at least once a month since ive had it. We will just keep going until it gets as good as it will. Do i still need meds? Yes but not as near as much as prior to surgery.
  • it help your husband to know the spinal cord stimulator technology has been around since the 60's? Honestly, that long! They are just smaller and better now.

    My husband LOVES my SCS and considered my remote control to be OUR new best friend. lol The SCS gave me much of my life back. I'm still in pain and still on meds, BUT I am no longer reclined 23 hours a day and can do almost anything I want without a 30 to 45 minute window before the pain gets too much.

    He will be the first to tell you he got his wife back with the SCS, but sadly it does not work for everyone.

    My biggest advice is this: If you are awake enough to be able to do this (sometimes you are really sedated heavily), when you are asked "do you feel the buzzing", be SURE you feel the buzzing in your pain area. It doesn't really help if you are buzzing in the wrong area and there is just so much "magic" the programmer has to make it work if lead placement isn't ideal.

    Good luck - I hope you both get a peace about this.

  • to knock your husband up the side of his head if he dares to say "I told you so" :))(

    seriously though, the staff and the PM will talk their way through the whole procedure, at least they did for me. I got all the questions I could think of answered before the trial started and day of they literally told me out loud step by step what they were doing.

    Try not to tense up and don't be surprised if it takes a time or two to get the lead or leads right.
    It took two entry points and three "test" activations during my placement to get the lead right.

    Then they tape the stuff up and roll you out to the recovery area. That's where they did my programming and made sure I was safe to be mobile and had my wife drive me home.
  • Just curious as to what your husband thinks may "go wrong". The biggest risk is probably infection but that is rare. The worst thing that could happen is that it doesn't work but you won't know until you try. I am having my trial in a couple weeks woohoo. My docs office said that where the leads are placed I shouldn't have too much pain because it isn't an actual incision. Dr's vary on meds some like you off them(which in my opinion is crazy) and other doctors have you continue. Am I nervous absolutely but I can't imagine not giving it a try. Did you get an informational DVD for your device? If your daughter is old enough I would let her watch it. My kids are 9,6 and 4 I have explained what mommy is doing and they are very excited that it might help me. We have a family joke about them getting ahold of my remote. I have been very open with them because it's hard for them to understand why mom is in so much pain. I would hope that your family and friends would be more supportive this could possibly help you in your pain control so it's "A GOOD THING". It is definately not a fix but it can be a tool to help and it unfortunately doesn't work for everyone. I would start your pain journal now it will help during the placement of the trial because they will have an understanding where your pain is located. I wish you the best and I hope the people around you get on board. Watch for my post in a couple weeks I'll let you know how it went.
  • I get your husbands concerns. Tell him not worry, it's not as bad as it seems. Make sure you have solid coverage before they tape you up. When I did my trial, my wife was present when they programmed me. That just made me smile, program me and I'm a programmer. I would definitely ask if he can be present when they program you so you have a second set of eyes and ears. Your mind will be spinning during the programming session.

  • I am going in right now to make a call to see my PM. I don't feel like I have been given enough info about the trial from her personally. She gave me the video and told me do my research then I called the office to get my insurance approval. The insurance is approved and they called to set up appts. No call or pre procedure appt. with the PM.

    Do any of you work full time? I am off for the summer and going to PT to help regain some strength. I really hope that I can keep working. I have used much of my sick leave and some days I am just dragging by due to the pain I have. Thanks for your words of encouragement!
    Severe DDD. Klippel Feil Deformity. Cervical Foraminatomy that turned into Lamy. I have tried so many treatments, therapy's and medications.
  • I work full time. I wouldn't mind taking the summer off. It'll take some getting used to, life with a stimulator. Your Doctor, Rep and others around you won't be much help. It's something you kind of figure out on your own with a little help from your online SCS friends. Don't be hard on the Doc about info, unless you have one of these things inside you it's very hard to understand everything. Your best resource is the video and we should be able to help fill some gaps.

    Ask your questions.

  • dave said:
    Don't be hard on the Doc about info, unless you have one of these things inside you it's very hard to understand everything. Your best resource is the video and we should be able to help fill some gaps.

    Ask your questions.


    Dave you are so very right. No matter how many neurostimulators a doc implants, no matter how many trials he/she conducts, unless that doc has or has had a neurostimulator, they have no clue what it really feels like or the demands it places on our day to day lives.

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