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Active Lifestyle = Percutaneous vs. Paddle Leads?

Hi Friends!

So I am going through the motions of scheduling the scs trial. My question is, for those of you who have the percutaneous leads and those of you who have the paddle leads, how active are you? Have you had to have any revisions? Because I am only 30 and still hoping to have kiddos (for those of you who know me, don't yell at me but I completely forgot to discuss this with her! I'll get an answer, promise!) and I want to get back to riding horses, etc. That being said, my doctor said paddle leads are hands down what I need because the percutaneous leads would migrate due to my activities. Having a laminectomy and not being able to have the paddles removed (she said they can clip and remove the hardware but they leave the paddles) makes me nervous, given that I'm already fused... Thoughts, ideas, concerns, etc?

Thanks all!



  • waltfwaltf Austin, TXPosts: 19
    edited 07/22/2017 - 8:54 AM

    Hi RainyDayDiva,

    So, question: are you talking about paddle versus percutaneous leads for your trial,your permanent SCS or both?

    By definition the percutaneous leads are 'thru the skin' (i.e. that is what percutaneous means) so those are the type of leads usually associated with a trial.  As far as I know I have never heard of a trial using a paddle lead as those have to be surgically implanted.

    But, for the actual implanted (i.e. permanent)  stimulator they can use both types, although it is much more common to use the paddle type of lead because the stimulating electrical energy is focused on on side of the 'paddle', facing the spine.

    So, usually:

    • percutaneous === trial or implanted
    • paddle == implanted only
    As far as having a laminectomy to implant the paddles, etc. and not being able to remove them - you did not mention where you 'are already fused'  but assuming it is in the lumbar region the paddles for the stimulator will be inserted in the thoracic region (T9), so that should not pose any issues for future surgeries in the lumbar region (assuming that is where you have fusion and pain sources).

    BTW - I have a paddle lead and have had zero issues with migration.  The laminectomy, incision at the T9 level were fairly minor, especially compared to my discectomies and fusion at L4/L5, and recovery was quick, I was back to work in 4 days (surgery on Friday, back to work on Tuesday, desk job).

    I have had my SCS since June of 2012 and would not give it it up, still glad I got it as it cuts my pain meds by about 40% or so.

    L5-S1 Discectomy
    L4-L5 Discectomy (four times)
    L4-L5 TLIF Fusion
    L3-L4 Posterolateral Fusion
    Revision L4-L5 Posterolateral Fusion
  •  I had paddle leads with the permanent implantation. The trial is done only with percutaneous leads since it is temporary. In my case, it took a full 6 months to fully recover from the laminectomy and paddle implantation in the thoracic spine. There is less chance of migration, unlike the percutaneous leads. 
    Ol' Spiney..Micro-D L4-L5, TLIF L4-S1 -post op central HNP L4-S1,stenosis, retrolisthesis, EF, facet arthropathy, lumbar& cervical DDD. FBSS- Medtronic pain pump & SCS
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  • RainyDayDivaRRainyDayDiva South Hill, WAPosts: 15

    @waltf - I was referring to the percutaneous leads for the trial and paddles for the permanent implant. Sorry for not clarifying. Also, I had an ALIF at L4-S1. I sure appreciate all the info and your opinion!

    @meydey - Thank you for sharing. How are you feeling now, do you feel the 6 month recovery was worth it to have whatever amount of relief you get from the scs?

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