Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Bone Growth Stimulator Effects

airborne72airborne72 Posts: 245
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I realize that this topic has been posted in several different questions over the past, so I will phrase my question in more specific terms.

I underwent a two level TLIF in January 2011 (L4-S1). Recovery was good at first, then became problematic. Possibly/probably looking at a revision surgery. However, in the meantime my surgeon ordered a BGS. Got it yesterday.

Instructions are to wear it 4 hours a day. I have done so for two days. As I write this post my back feels very sensitive, as if it has been hit. I am also having greater difficulty standing erect.

My research on these things returned mixed comments. Some indicate that use of a BGS is most effective soon after a surgery while others say later. The lady who delivered the device said that most insurance companies will not approve the device until 9 months post surgery.

For those of you who have utilized these devices within the past year, are my circumstances with the insurance company/presciption by surgeon typical and are my symptoms immediately after 8 hours of use of this device normal?


  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I received my BGS while at the hospital recovering from surgery. I was a 3 times failed fusion so maybe that is why I received mine so soon. Yes I was always sore after wearing the device. It took awhile to get used to. The side affects went away after wearing it a few weeks. My surgeon told me it causes no side affects but I disagree, It seemed to cause muscular spasms for me. Hopefully in time your side affects will go away also
  • HI Jim,

    I received my stimulator 3 days post surgery, and still ended with psuedo. Yes I did feel some added discomfort for awhile and they did subside, just work with it. Not sure what kind it is, but some of them as long as you do the first hour in full then you can stop it and do a hour at a time to work your way up to the 4 hours. I did wear mine faithfully for 6 months and then the psuedo showed up, but we think it has more to me returning back to full time work at the 10 week mark and what I was doing during that time frame. Good luck keep us posted on how you get a long.
  • I received mine about 6 weeks after my surgery and the PA said he figured I would have gotten one right off since it was a "redo" surgery due to a botched one 6 months prior. I did think I was going crazy and I had the "sigh" it doesn't cause any additional pain or discomfort conversation with my surgeon and physical therapist. I really hate when they look at you like you are crazy....

    I spoke to the regional rep for mine and I was wearing it for 4 hours a day and he said my prescription was minimum of 2 and he also said to try to use it for 30 minutes instead of 1-2 hours at a time to see if that helps. The 1 hour is only for the timer, if your doctor is checking on your usage and compliance then that might be a concern. But he said even if the timer resets it doesn't matter as long as you don't use it for more than 4 hours (that's my maximum). He also suggested to put a throw pillow between it and me to spread out the magnetic field from front to back....He said he never heard of it causing pain or additional discomfort but my pain level went from a 4-5 to a 7-8 overnight and I was having issues standing upright and walking due to soreness. It could be due a sensitivity to the magnetic waves it uses or the increase of blood flow to the area that is causing more pain...

    I described it that it felt like someone had hit and kicked me in my back and abdomen and it was the day afterwards and I was bruised and achy feeling. I stopped using it too until my pain came under control and I didn't use it on Thursday and by Friday my pain was back down...

  • Thanks to all who responded. At least now I know I am not a sissy, nor am I crazy.

    My approach to this device has been the typical male mode of operation - do it all at once! Perhaps it would be smarter to do it in one or two hour doses.

    I have learned that it is cumbersome, but not so much so that I could not take a nap. It has yet to set off any security alarms, but I believe it did mess with the wireless receiver in my laptop computer.

    As a three day veteran of this device I can state emphatically that it does cause residual pain immediately after use for about 6 hours (feels like someone hit you in the small of the back; feels like bone-on-bone contact) and I can not stand fully erect for several hours after its use.

    I return for my next appointment with my surgeon in mid March and I will be curious to see just what this machine is generating. I have a history of bone spurs in my spine. Sure don't need any more of those guys.

    **Seabeeangel: I'm making a wild guess here - do you have some relation to someone who does, or did, serve in the U.S. Navy? That's what Seabee means to me.

    And to finish quoting Jimmy Buffet..."we would go insane."
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Any minute now he should arrive. So this is interesting reading.
    I told my surgeon that I have always fuse quickly. But, I had always walked as much as possible.
    But this tie I had a multiple fusion and a open laminectomy. And I'm unable to walk anymore than 5 min. 2 x a day. and maybe that's why he ordered one.
    I've had many fusions and never needed one before. And always fused in less than a year. So I suspect the reason for this is the lack of walking.
    We will see. But I would not be able to withstand any additional pain. (I've never been in such miserable uncontrollable pain)
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    It is made by Orthofix out of Texas.
    It's got a automatic timer. You turn it on and in 2 hrs. it shuts off and locks you out til the next day. You can wear it for the 2 hrs. Or break it into any segment you like. Then recharge it. And put it back on the next day. It's not time sensitive for that day. You can wear it at different times on different days.
    I've had it on for 1 hr. already, and no side effects yet.with 1 more hr. to go, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. No pain PLEASE!
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Jim:

    Mine is the same, except mine is factory-set for a 4 hour daily dose.

    After I take mine off my lower spine (site of L4-S1 TLIF) feels very sensitive and sore; almost like I jumped off the roof of the garage (did that as a kid). I also find that my muscles are not very resiliant (feel weak).

    Went for a walk with it on today (63 degrees and beautiful sunshine in middle Tennessee) and did not get any public sympathy at all! Was hoping for at least one attractive, young, concerned lady to stop and ask me if I was OK.

    I keep telling myself that at least this is not as much of a nuisance as a catheter.
  • I only had to wear mine for 30 minutes per day. I started using it the day I got home from the hospital. Other than feeling the strap around my stomach, I had no idea I was wearing one or if it was doing anything. Bone fused, so I guess it did what it was supposed to do.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    I wore it again for the 2 hrs. to day. And I don't feel anything.
    He said I could wear it over my brace. And I did both days. I wonder if that could make a difference?
    I'll try wearing it without my brace tomorrow.
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    I tried wearing the stimulator without having my brace on today. And it didn't cause any ill effects.
    We are all uniquely different.
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Hi all, I am 2 months after 4 level ACDF of c3-c7. I ware my BGS 4 hrs a day for 3 months..as of now. And yes I to had some discomfort at first, but I think most of it is due to the soreness of the surgery and the added weight. Sure hope this thing does its job. NS says that things are looking good.. I love my NS he is a awesome DR.!
  • I received my stimulator before I checked out of the hospital for my L5/S1 ALIF in May 2011. I had to wear it every day for 6 months for 4 hours each day. My first L5/S1 fusion failed so my doc wanted the stem cells and the stimulator to enhance my chances for success. The last MRI I had a couple of months ago showed that i was healing well. I did not exerience any symptoms specific to the stimulator. But, we are all different, so I would be prodding my docs to find an answer. Best of luck to you!
  • I just finished my BGS dose for today. To date I have accumulated 32 hours of this.

    My symptoms remain, but I think I am getting use to them - sore back and weak spinal muscles for several hours after use. Bone growth will be determined next Tuesday night because we will have a full moon. Hope I don't express any werewolf characteristics (fangs) and behaviors. On the other hand, that has been a very popular, and profitable, Hollywood movie thread. I can see the headlines now, Bone Growth Stimulator creates Werewolves!!!!

    As one who follows the rules, this device has become controlling. I am paranoid about getting in my 4 hours daily. I can only imagine what those who wear electronic ankle bracelets must feel like. Aldous Huxley was correct - it truly is a "Brave New World."

    Thanks to all who have posted to this thread.
  • Jim,

    Glad to hear things have been tolerable. I thought about powering through it but after 2 surgeries in year I was tired of "powering through it".

    I got to speak to my actual surgeon and he said just to stop wearing it. I just had my 3 month check up after my T12 Corpectomy and he said it looks fine and i'm good to go without it. Thank you god...I think he just didn't want to give me any more pain pills :)

    Yes my husband is a Seabee Chief and of course i'm an Angel!

Sign In or Register to comment.