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Neuro stimulator suggested

Hi all,
Its been years since I've been on here. Long story short, after 5 surgeries later I now have pain bilat legs. L3 needs fusion, L4-5 had fusion in 2007 with amazing results. L3 Laminectomy last year by an Orthopedic Spine Specialist. Since last year I now have Cauda Equina, and now leg pain is just as bad as before the last surgery. 2 neurosurgeons, 2 different opinions. 1 wants to do a fusion @ L3, the other suggests less invasive treatsments first, such as. 1) do nothing, 2) PT, 3) Neurostimulator and 4) surgery -fusion as last resort.
Any suggestions about the stimulator? I have seen both good and bad. So confused, still in pain.
Carol BaileyTremblay


  • I am not familiar with your particular issues, but I do know the frustration of differing opinions. I am usually willing to try the suggestions in case they will prevent surgery. If you think you can stand it, try the non invasive tx first, Hopefully someone will have more insight on a neurostimulator for you.
  • Azcatfan
    I would get more opinions before a SCS implant for the simple reason if you need fusion and don't but add a stimulator you could do more nerve damage if nerves were being crushed or pinched at those levels. IMO and only mine I don't believe in the less invasive try because many end up doing the fusion later anyway. That's just my thoughts on this.
    Any good surgeon or pain management doctor should say that the stimulator or a pain pump are the last thing to do if anything else can be done.
    I have had fusion at L4 L5 and S1 then had a lumbar stimulator implanted. I had no problems with the fusions and then later my body on it's own fused L3 toL4 .
    The fusions have not limited me much but the nerve damage done before the fusions is what causes me problems now.

    I would be much better off if I didn't wait so long. That is just my story and we all have a different one but delay can cause damage. I would get at least two docs to agree on which way to go. I have a friend who had a failed three level cervical fusion. To me it was a easy decision the fusion needed to be redone. Five surgeons and not two of them had the same plan. Look for what is called the GOLDEN STANDARD that is what I would go by if ever asked.

    Good Luck
  • In my cases, I had clearly ruptures at C456 and the surgeon fixed it easily. All was well. Fast forward to the low back and I struggled with bulges and DDD at all L levels but bone to bone at L5/S1 and pain. Lots of pain. Lots of long time pain. Lots. Did I mention..... Anyway, it wasn't until the pain turned into nerve problems that surgery was an option. Well, surgery helped some w the pain for a while but the nerve damage was done and after two years hoping for the nerve to resolve, I finally got the SCS two weeks ago.
    I agree w Rick though, time is of the essence and consensus must be part of any solution for me to feel any warm mfuzzies.
    I had the same conservative surgeon both times and I trusted him. I still do. I'm not drawn to a knife right away but may e if we had cut more readily I wold not have the nerve issue. All those ifs and maybes get me nowhere though.

    Get seconds and thirds and .....until the warm fuzzier come along and you'll live without second guessing your decision later on. Good luck.
  • They wanted to fuse me C5-C6 I didnt Im glad as my discs kept herniating. Now 5 years after 2nd car accident every disc is bad. Anyway My PM said lets try the SCS----FIRST. I too have nerve damage it now effects the muscles. Pain and spasm. I glad we did the SCS first. It helps. Fusion is big! And no guarantee. I see the need for the fusion But glad Im getting help with SCS see what happens down the road. You could do the trial???
  • not only do you get different opinions from your Drs, you get them from us, lol. I hope you are able to make a decision YOU are comfortable with, you know all the variables for your condition,Good Luck!
  • For me, the shots and injections pretty much got the nerve pain after a couple years. Everyone I talked to all said they got the muscle pain after fusion. I have that, so I waited. This is my 2nd day out in a row!!! I feel like I am getting a life back. Just hope I can go back to work. It's not perfect there is pain but I seem to be coping with it. It took me a long time to decide. Keep reading this board and read old posts.
  • Tired of the painTTired of the pain Posts: 197
    edited 10/27/2013 - 5:36 AM
    I had ACDF at .C5/6 and C6/7 in 2011. I had some relief but kept looking for the instant relief that others experienced. I knew several people who had surgery with good results and started thinking I was losing my mind. My surgeon is one of the best in Fl but he did not want to look any further after failed back surgery.i finally had an EMG and another test whic showed I had permanent nerve damage at the root at C7. Any way after trying many alternatives to drugs I have talked to PM about this. I also have trouble with lower back most of my 57 years but tolerate that pain as it comes and goes. Should I look I to the status of is before getting implant due to the MRI restriction?
  • Ms PixieMMs Pixie Posts: 154
    edited 10/27/2013 - 4:14 PM
    I was in the same situation as you. Had my 2 level fusion on c5 and c6. Got somewhat better but nerve still giving me mad problems in left shoulder, neck and mostly left arm. Went back to surgeon. Oh your c4 is bad now, lets fuse again! Went to 2 other surgeons for opinions and they said they wouldnt touch c4 at this point. Not too damaged and my nerve issues stems from c5-7 still.
    Pain management suggested scs since they and surgeons believe its most likely a permanently damaged nerve root at the fusion area and I like to keep as many discs as I can at this point. So im going for the scs, waiting for perrmanent inplant. They can still remove c4 later when needed and the scs will help me leade a more pain free life.
    Get opinions, do research and ultimately it is you decision. A fusion is non reversible, a scs can be taken out if you would absolutely hate it or keep having problems with it that cant be adjusted. Having it in, they can still monitor your bad disc and act on it if it becomes really urgent.
    Good luck with your journey!
    Cause: car accident & genetics
    Effect: herniations C4-7, stenosis, osteoarthritis, myelopathy, neuropathy
    Non-invasive Treatment: everything under the sun
    Invasive Treatment: 2 level ACDF, C5 & C6, May 2012
    Moving Forward: SCS
  • Your comments above makes sense. You've done your homework and know your body.
  • Tired of the painTTired of the pain Posts: 197
    edited 03/07/2014 - 1:04 PM
    Well I kept waiting for the PM office to contact me with a date. I called very Monday and never received a return call. Finally went into the office without an appointment, then asked to talk with the office manager. I spoke with the office manager and made her understand that now the story had changed because it was after Jan 1 and my insurance coverage had changed. Instead of paying 900 deductible and $40 per doctor, I had to pay 1500 deductible and 40% of everything else.what would have cost me $1440 now will cost me over $3500. My PM talked about the problems with having the leads in the neck and higher in the back. He said that many times the constant movement of the neck increases the likelihood of misplaced leads and pain from it being in the wrong place. With the consideration of the financial cost and the risks involved in surgery, I decided to hold off. I am trying a second opinion from a neurosurgeon and pain specialist EDIT.
    Post edited by Sandi- Please see the forum rules at the link below for more information.
    You agree not to post specific physician names or health care facilities , devices or product names on Spine-Health.com.

  • Time is of the essence. I now have permanent nerve damage. mostly because I didn't know waiting hurts worse (in my case). The advice I was given is to wait as much as I can stand it before surgery. Now, I have better doctors that found nerve damage and recommended SCS because disc replacement is unlikely to be effective at this point.

    I will try an SCS trial in 2-3 weeks. I discovered it really is my best option. Hopefully, I will walk better too.
    L4-L5 fused at birth (congenital malformity). L-5-S1 bulge/degeneration, L3-L4 bulge/degeneration. Permanent nerve damage L5-S1 and L3-L4. Fused C5-C7.
  • Your trial will tell you right away. Make sure hour have the sensations in the areas of pain to get the coverage you need. I will give you more info when you have the trial working.
    Good luck this works with a good surgeon and a exelant programmer.
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