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SCS to postpone surgery


I don't know too much about SCS, but has anyone ever used it long term to postpone having a major surgery? I know it is often used to treat pain after a failed surgery or pain that is not surgical. I have had 3 microdiscectomies in the past 5 years and my surgeon said that we will have to consider doing a fusion or disc replacement if I return with a herniated disc that can't be successfully treated conservatively. I just found out I have reherniated a disc.
I am thinking ahead, but wondering if injections don't help and need pain relief, but don't want to have surgery yet if SCS would be an option.
I understand I will end up with surgery at some point, but seeing that I am just shy of 25 years old I have concerns about herniating other discs above a fusion or wearing out an artificial disc later in life if I have to procedure done in the next few years. Maybe SCS could control my pain and allow me to put off surgery until I am older so I am less likely to injure myself, more research has been done on artificial discs and their longevity, etc.

All thoughts welcome. I will of course talk to my pain management doctor and neurosurgeon about it.
25 years old: Herniated L4-L5, L5-S1 December 2008. L4-L5 microdiscectomy Sept 2010. L5-S1 microdiscectomy March 2012. Redo L4-L5 microdiscectomy Sept 2013. Redo microdiscectomy Oct 2015.


  • I hope someone with experience can answer your question about SCS being a good PRE-FUSION pain control measure.

    I haven't had a surgery yet, and I've been relying on a TENS unit to help distract me from pain (with varying levels of success, depending on the day). It's been a pain to fiddle with the wires and hide them. Sometimes the pads fall off and burn, I've wondered how SCS compares to this.
  • I had a failed lumbar fusion and many Injections, therapy, and pain meds before trying the scs. It's only been one week since I got the permanent but the trial was so great that I opted for permanent. I'd definitely discuss this with your Dr to make sure it's the right thing to do
  • What is an SCS? I'm guessing an internal pain control mechanism from the responding posts? I'm so sorry for u spiney, so young to be having this pain. I wish you luck and agree with Darby, talk to your doctor and even consider a second opinion. Wishing you relief!

    Bman, I hear you on the tens unit. Mine has been my lifesaver while waiting for fusion. We discontinued my pt until the surgery so I'm using my unit daily now. I live in Florida and man is it still warm, makes the pads wear out faster for sure. I'm constantly hiding wires and not trying to electrocute my fingers, sad to hear you too..but it made me glad that I wasn't the only one.

    Wishing you all comfort.
  • darby01darby01 Posts: 191
    edited 09/10/2015 - 5:33 PM
    SCS= Spinal Cord Stimulator
  • I would definitely talk to your doc, I dont really have any experience with your situation, mine was put in for different reasons, I started with injections at 26, and they stopped working at 28. The SCS was the only option as there was no other surgery that would help. Being 30 now and thinking about what would happen in any way with my health was something I really discussed with my drs, I made sure I got the Medtronic one, since it is MRI safe. I wish I could give you more advice on your situation. I wish you luck!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,870
    Here is the formal medical section on Spine-Health Spinal Cord Stimulators

    Plus, there is an entire forum category devoted to Spinal Cord Stimulators
    Spinal Cord Stimulation
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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