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How common is Lead Migration after almost a year

kcmarlowekkcmarlowe Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
I had a permanent SCS implanted in April 2011. It has been working awesome. At my post-op visit my Boston Scientific Rep set my program so well that I have never changed programs, and rarely increase the intensity. However, just within the last week the stimulation has moved. It is supposed to be in my lower back, and now I am getting the majority of the stimulation in my legs and a lot in my feet. Occasionally in certain positions I get it by my ribcage/abdomen. I talked to my BS rep and we are meeting to try and re-program, but he did sound concerned as this change has come on all of a sudden. He asked me if I had recently fallen, and I have not. So I guess does anyone know if it is common to have a lead move almost a year after surgery? And if it has moved and I cannot get my pain relief back after programming, how do they fix it? If it is surgery is it as awful as when they implanted the device? I had awful pain in my upper back for many weeks. Any help/advice would be appreciated.



  • Welcome to Spine Health Kimberly.

    I am so sorry you are having problems after such good success.

    It is not uncommen for leads in the SCS to move even after a year. They can be reposioned but what is involved with that I do not know. I will have to leave that to someone who has had it done. I do not think it would be as painfull as having the implan.

    If your rep was able to get it working so well for you once I do not know why he could not do it again. But those wonderful little gagets can be tricky at times.

    I am sorry I am not much help to you but there are people here who can answer all your questions. I am sure they will be happy to.

    Best of luck to you and please keep us updated.

    Cheers :H
    Patsy W
  • Thanks Patsy! I met with my rep and we re-programmed it but I do think something is loose. The stimulation is not constant only in certain positions. It feels like when I had the trial. Thanks for your words of encouragement.
  • Hi Kimberly, I had a stimulator put in after nerve damage from an appendectomy. I have a lump on my back next to my scar where my leads are. My stimulation seems to be working pretty much the same, but my back really hurts around that area. Do you have pain near your leads? What did your doc say about if it had moved?
  • Lead migration after a year is not a common problem. Usually lead migration occurs within the first 6 months if it's going to happen. Scar tissue builds and impedance on your leads will increase, requiring reprogramming of your stimulation pattern.

    Something they can do is run a diagnostic test on your system to make certain there is good lead connectivity. Sometimes it's not lead migration, but the wire to the lead breaking down.

    I have been through 2 revisions on my SCS and they were both easy to recover from, far more easy than the original implant surgery.

  • I agree with C, lead migration after a year of having the SCS is not common. About 4 to 5 weeks after I had my perm SCS placed, my leads migrated, and they did so badly, that the cables/leads basically wrapped around the battery like a yo-yo, when my PM Doc saw that, he called my NS and had him schedule me for a revision. During the revision, the NS placed paddles and those babies have stayed in position ever since!

    Another hiccup that happened to me about a year and a half ago, was this; I was having issues keeping my battery charged for more than 2 days, this became so annoying that my BS rep and I decided to meet with my PM to see if in between the 3 of us, and AL of Tuxctla, could find a solution.
    Well, after about a week of waiting on my PM's call, he finally called me and he wanted to see me right away. Well, to make a long story short, my specific battery was been recalled by BS, and BS was getting ready to release the information to PM Doc's, patients, etc. so with a simple cut in my right butt cheek, and a brand new battery, the problem was solved!

    OK, so I think that you should call your Doc, your BS Rep., and get to the bottom of what happened, that way, you could be able to speak in person, to those affected, and we can also do the lighting ceremony, and enjoy Gasparilla, the way that our pirates intended for us, so let's party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Take care, and let us know what happens. Hugs,

    Enid :)
  • Thanks for your posts....I meet with my neurosurgeon on Feb 7th....biting my nails til then....I do NOT want to have to start the healing process over as I have just started to get into an exercise routine and hate to think about starting over.

    Marcus, when they did your revision surgeries, where was the incision. When I had the system put in I had 2 incisions, one between my shoulder blades that was awful, and another for the transmitter, which did not bother me much. Just worried that I might have to have that awful pain from the incision between my shoulder blades....

    Thanks for all the help and support!!!


  • Marcus Aurelius is the author of the quote in my signature line. :-)

    The first revision I had, the doc had to open the incision between my shoulders and work through that. Since there wasn't enough tissue to really bury the anchors well, the doc pull some in from the side and it was quite uncomfortable for a bit. Now I'm glad he did it because I have more padding over the anchors and it's way more comfortable.

    The second revision done two weeks after the first, was a reopening of the IPG pocket. That one was a piece of cake and easy to heal up from. No stitches or staples, just super glue to re-close it.

    Just remember, that you have to do whatever it takes to get things running right. A few days or weeks of discomfort, is easy to forget, once you are on the other side of it and feeling much better. It is always easy to focus on how bad something felt in the past, when you are currently feeling like crap. Don't let that prevent you from moving ahead and moving out of that mess.

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