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Need advise fused surgery or scs tryout

BushmenBBushmen Posts: 2
edited 06/15/2014 - 7:39 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi all new to the form. Name is tom. I am 56 years old. I had back pain for the last 20 years. Been on all kinds of meds hate them. Got a pain pump implanted and that's does not work. Been to lots of different doctors and tried most everything.I got 2 main areas of pain. Lower back always hurts cause L5 has no fluid in disc. They wanted to operate but been dogging that. My mid back just as much pain got hurt in a procedure and been bad from that. I am at the point I must try something,anything.

So do I get my lower fused as we know it's a issue. Or do I try the SCS to see how it works on both upper and lower. I think they can cover both spots. I have been told if I do fuse the lower I can get worst, although that is from my pain mgt doctor so I don't trust that opinion cause he make money on the pump. I see lots of people get this done and are fine. I know not all go that well also. SCS being just a coverup will it last if it works will the wires break off after years in me I don't know. If you been in my type of pain and made the choice let me know the outcome. I have see Nero sierguns who would operate in a sec on the lower and fuse all 3. Let me know what you think and thanks for your time. FYI I am only looking for 50 percent pain relief.


  • SCS ( spinal cord stimulation) is not meant to cover mechanical pain. It does , sometimes, with some models, in some patients, but it is meant to treat neuropathic pain ( nerve pain). It works by disrupting pain signals being sent through the spinal nerves to the brain , by using a stimulation pattern(s) similar to what you would experience with a TENS unit, but it is implanted next to the spinal cord...usually in the thoracic area ( lower end just above the lumbar region) of the spine.
    It is by no means a cure to fix the problem with the L5-S1 area of your spine, and in fact, may not offer you the relief you seek.
    We do have a scs forum on Spine-Health and I will include some links for you to read that might help provide more information. http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/back-surgery/spinal-cord-stimulation-chronic-pain

    The fusion surgery is a tough recovery immediately post op, but there are many people who have undergone fusion surgery and done quite well, and are off living their lives with little in the way of change to their lifestyle.....but as with any surgery, there are risks there as well. So I will include some links regarding fusion and give you somethings to think about......

  • I had a lubar fusion done on that level 1-1/2 yrs ago and am doing quite well. I am and always will be in some pain, but now only use a 7 day Butrans patch and tramadol. I work 6hrs a day, do 4 aerobics classes a week....but I also know others who haven't fared as well.
  • backache99backache99 Posts: 1,338
    edited 06/20/2014 - 6:23 AM
    I would go down the less invasive route {because a fusion is a mechanical fix }and its primary purpose it spine stability and NOT PAIN RELIEF .I have just had a consultation with my consultant today and I will be posting a summary of it {you may want to read it you may find some or all of it very interesting} a fusion especially ALIF {the abdominal version] is almost two operations ..one for the abdominal and the other the spine and you will be catheterised too as already mentioned recovery can be long and hard and many patients are disappointed with the end result.so if you can try the SCS if done well and you are a suitable candidate you may get very good results ..AGAIN its still surgery and things can and do go wrong but its a safer option than a fusion ..think of it like a full heart transplant verses a stent repair ...read as many post to get a balanced view and don't rush anything and make sure you have chosen THE BEST CONSULTANT YOU CAN GET DONT BE AFFRAID TO TRAVEL TO GET THE BEST
    and good luck
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • I received a DVD in the mail that specifically says "For low back pain" yet everyone the poster above says it's for arms and legs (not specifically nerve pain). I heard in the next few months they will be approving a new model that has been in use over in the UK for years that is specifically for low back pain called Nevro Senza. There is also something called a peripheral nerve stimulator where they place the leads right where your pain is or in the peripheral nerves vs the spinal cord stimulator where they place the leads somewhere around t8-t10.

    I had fusion a year ago and my bone did not grow. My surgeon wasn't concerned and never offered a bone stimulator. come to find out, I am very low in Vit D so that probably didn't help but also, I have an underlying autoimmune disorder that has yet to be identified. But still, my issue goes beyond my L4/L5 where i had surgery. I also have SI joint dysfunction which the surgeon couldn't address-neurosurgeon but had no knowledge of the sacroiliac joint.

    Always take the path of least resistance unless you know for sure that your pain is in one area, the disc only. Then a minimally invasive fusion would be fine (and yes, find a doctor who does it minimally invasive. If they say they can't or prefer open, see someone else more qualified).

    Grade 4 tear in l4/l5 was missed in first MRI so did injections for a year
    SI joints "messed up" not sure if I will get them fused at a later time
    Had Open PLIF L4/L5 5/28/13
    Woke up to permanent nerve damage in legs and feet.
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 06/20/2014 - 1:39 PM
    Nervo Senza is very new. The study data is very promising. The safety rating is about the same as current spinal stimulators but the reported improvements in pain scale & narcotic med reduction look really good. A lot of the first patients were reportedly suffering from 'failed spine surgery' & stated that this devise works where everything else hadn't.

    In the UK they always say that things have been widely used in the USA for years when they want to push through release. Looks like it goes both ways! Nervo Senza was first used in London, England but its a very new trial product everywhere. From what I read the results of the first (2 year) study group have just been released.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • JennFuseL4S1JJennFuseL4S1 Posts: 38
    edited 06/20/2014 - 4:36 PM

    My pain clinic doc recommended the scs for me too. I refused it (though she sure did have quite the sales pitch) because it doesn't fix anything, it just hides the symptoms. My situation, of course, was different. I was bone on bone and even the pain clinic doc said I needed a fusion eventually. I wasn't into buying time, I was more into getting better.

    Do you have a good relationship with your pcp or a physical therapist who you could gain an outside opinion from, who knowsyour ssituation? My therapist was REALLY helpful for me. If you do a fusion I also recommend pre-op therapy. Itn hurts like heck but you will be glad after surgery when your legs and core are super strong :-)
  • eventually, you have to address the physical problem. And there are times and situations where masking the symptoms can result in permanent damage. I would be having a very frank discussion with both my pm doctor and my surgeon or two, to see what they feel is the best option.
    Either decision is not without risks, but the risk of permanent damage from trying to mask the symptoms would concern me more. I didn't go ahead with the suggested scs implant either, since it wouldn't address the issues, and despite all of the problems that I have had since, I am glad that I didn't.
    There is also the consideration that once you have it implanted, you can not have MRI's done to check on the condition of the spine and CT scans, don't show the soft tissues quite as well as MRI does.
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