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3 week Stim Trial

Hello. Has anyone had/heard of a 3 week trial for SCS? My insurance company is requiring this in order to gain their coverage for the procedure. It's SO! much longer than the "normal' trial and I am concerned about this. I would love to know if anyone has experience or knows anything about such an extended trial period. Thank you!


  • RTgirl2011RRTgirl2011 Posts: 512
    edited 02/02/2014 - 2:24 PM
    Most trials do not go past a week because of the risk of infection. Mine was 5 days and I broke out like crazy from all the tape. Plus 3 weeks would be a long time without a shower, considering you cannot shower at all during the trial. Sponge baths only. I definitely would be discussing that with my doctor, maybe they could speak with your insurance company.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • CascaCCasca Posts: 8
    edited 02/03/2014 - 7:54 AM
    Hi, I am due to undergo a trial of 14 days or so from Wednesday this week. Nothing to do with the insurance company - my doctor and his team at the pain clinic routinely do trials of this length because they believe it is the best way to assess the effects of the SCS once the acute pain of lead insertion recedes and you have the opportunity to go home and see what impact, if any, the SCS has on your pain during your normal (or a more careful, limited version of) routine and daily life. So it may not be the norm, but it isn't unheard of to have a longer trial. Not looking forward to the prolonged period of not showering though, as RTGirl mentioned!

    I wish you the best of luck, however long a trial you and your doctor decide is best for you.
  • hopetogetwellhhopetogetwell Posts: 35
    edited 02/03/2014 - 2:50 PM
    RT Girl...congrats on successful trial and good luck with your permanent SCS!
    Casca ....good luck to you on Wednesday; I hope it's a success!

    I met with my NS today and did the pre-op stuff with his PA in preparation for the trial on Monday. Sponge baths...ay yi yi! I just keep thinking it's for the greater good. The 3 week stim trial : come to find out my surgeon agrees with the insurance requirement on this. I didn't mention in my post (because the equipment is the same) that my trial is, specifically, for subcutaneous peripheral stim. They put the lead directly on my pain region (T2 - T6 ish) vs. in the spinal cord. That said, the risk of infection is much lower and the restrictions are, well, less restrictive (minus the shower part; ugh) in the trial. It really hit home with me when the NS said that they had agreed because the extended time frame will, most likely, eliminate the placebo possibility. I had a placebo effect from an unnecessary fusion several years ago which really had me convinced that the surgery worked. I couldn't believe the power of the placebo! I will be happy to never experience fantasy like that ever again. Looking for the real deal. :) :)
  • A large black heavy duty garbage bag cut for head opening and some help. I got my hair wet and washed my limbs felt much better!!!! it's very doable. Hard to got to work w\o shower
  • Great tip, TerriP - thank you!
  • Thanks for the advice TerriP.....good idea! Had my first "sponge bath" yesterday and went far better than I imagined. My electrodes are positioned mid back and I am able to tie up the battery pack/ controls above the waist, which leaves me with some flexibility for "zone" washing. Going to have my hair washed at Great Clips....$4; wow! Well worth it. Ah, the things we do for pain relief. :) Thanks for the assist, all.
  • Thats smart to have it 3 weeks. Make sure you adjust and get plenty of programing.
  • My insurance requires a psych eval before approving a trial. That took a month to set up. it will be another two weeks for the SCS (at least) because the insurance has to review the results and respond. my trial will be 3-5 days, then the SCS surgery will be around a week later. It seems there is a big variety from insurance to doctors.
    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.
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