After a successful trial about 6 weeks ago I underwent my implant surgery yesterday (6/13/13). So far so good. Unlike many other stories I have read here on Spine-Health, we (rep and I ) decided to create a few programs, similar to what we used during the trial, so I have had my system on and working right from the beginning.
When I say we, I really do mean 'we'. Since I am an electrical engineer I did a bunch of research on the 3 main companies providing SCS systems here in the US. I decided on the Boston Scientific unit and when I told this to my (great) Pain Management doctor he said that all of his 'tech savvy' patients end up choosing Boston S. When I was in pre-op for my trial I struck up a conversation with the Boston Scientific technician and we talked technical merits of the different systems - turns out he had previously worked at 'the other two' and settled on Boston S. himself because he believes in their technology. After the trial insertion, in recovery, the technician gave me the controls and had me create my own stimulation programs (which worked quite well).
I guess I am one of the lucky ones as both my trial (subcutaneous radial leads) and the implant (semi-laminectomy with paddle leads) gave me coverage in both legs, from half way up my back down to the bottom of my feet. We even moved the stimulation pattern up and down through the electrodes and only when we where at the two extremes (top and/or bottom) did I lose any coverage.
Also, I am one who tolerates anesthesia very, very well; when they 'woke me up' after placing the leads I felt great, no pain, no grogginess (both the rep and surgeon where a little surprised at the clarity of my description as the moved the stimulation pattern around and tried different settings and such). Yes, it is good that they wake you up and do this - even though I started out (when woke) with pretty good coverage they were able to move the leads a little here and a little there and get 'superb' placement.
The Boston S. technician told me that he has found over the years (he has been doing this something like 15 years) that if he goes ahead and programs and shows the patient how to operate, etc. that 99% of them were too groggy and he has to repeat it all at the first post-op appointment, but for me we went ahead with the basic programming as I was fully alert. I still clearly remember every little detail right up to when the put me under, when the 'woke me up' and when I got to recovery.
So, here I am around 7:30 PM writing this, after just going out for an (easy and slow) walk with the dog (surgery was at 8:00AM yesterday, in recovery by 9:15 and on my way home by 11:00AM). The stimulation is doing well at taking care of my bilateral leg/buttocks pain - but I am still taking quite a bit of pain medication for the surgical pain. My electrodes are in the Thoracic spine (I forget which level) and my IPG is in my left upper buttocks. I wanted it there as I sleep on my right side.
Well, gotta go make myself some dinner, I'll post an update a little later in the week.