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major displacement of a cervical paddle lead

Greetings to my new cyberspace friends. 8 years ago I suffered a high speed (55mph) rear end crash while my car was stopped. My head snapped back so hard that I broke the driver's seat. I spent a full year with a neurologist who tried meds and physical therapy. I was finally ramped up to methadone 4 times per day and became a walking zombie. I didn't like how I felt and neither did my family. So I stopped cold turkey and it took about a week to start feeling normal. Over the next 5 years I took no meds but underwent countless injections in my C-spine (epidurals, facets, nerve blocks). No help. I had severe pain 24/7 with bilateral radiculopathy. I finally decided to see another neurologist. He determined that based on current MRI's my discs were a mess. c4/c5 and c5/c6 were collapsed. He performed a 2 level artificial disc replacement. After an unpleasant recovery I had only a small degree of pain improvement. 9 months later lady luck came calling again. I was once again rear ended while stopped in freeway taffic. This guy was doing 65+ when he hit me. Now I have two broken driver's seats to my credit. Once again pain meds and muscle relaxants were used for just a short time, mainly because they don't touch the pain. I then was sent to a pain management doc who attempted treatment with a new round of injections. No improvement. I was sent to a new PM doc and he suggested trying SCS. I jumped at it as I was frustrated at no improvement. We proceeded with the trial with the percutaneous leads. I actually had some improvement but the location of my pain was higher than where the stimulation covered. After consultation the PM and the neurologist agreed that a high cervical paddle lead was needed for me. The surgery happened on Jan 2, 2015. The surgeon performed a partial laminectomy between c1/c2 and inserted the paddle in a retrograde fashion (from above, not below). The next 2 weeks were brutal. I tried to use the unit many times but only got stimulation on the right side of my occipital region. I consulted with the St. Jude Medical rep and she suggested that due to incisional swelling and healing that the stimulation may not be effective for a while. I did not have any complications such as infection. I finally returned to work as an optometrist (rather low key work physically). For the following 3 months I tried the unit and just never had any change in stimulation, just the occipital region on the right side, never the neck or shoulders. The St. Jude rep tried for an hour to reprogram my unit but was getting odd impedance readings that were off of the scale. I had an x-ray and that's when the real story was told. For some completely unknown reason and/or mechanism my paddle lead had come completely up and out of the spinal column and also rotated 90 degrees. The neurologist indicated that he had never seen this happen spontaneously. He had only two other situations where there was a major paddle displacement but both involved violent injuries (one was a surfing accident). I am set to have a revision surgery in a month. Has anyone out there had a similar experience? I lead a rather sedentary life as I hurt too much to do anything else. I would love to hear that I am not alone with this experience.

Lawrence Young
Lawrence Young
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