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3rd SCS surgery due to battery moving

Hey everyone! I’m making this post in hopes of finding others who have gone through something similar & getting advice in general.

I had my permanent SCS surgery in March of 2016 & everything went well during recovery except my leads slipped a little. The battery was placed in my left buttock right under the waist line. About a month later I started having a lot of pain & soreness at the battery site. After walking for a brief period of time, like at Wal-Mart for groceries, the pain would be terrible. It turns out my battery was moving out of place & ended up migrating all the way up to the small of my back, almost to my love handle!

I had surgery to place the battery back in the original spot in June of 2016. The doctor built up a dam of sorts right above the incision to keep the battery from migrating again. He told me what all he “built the dam with” but I don’t remember. Fast forward about a year & I start having the soreness & pain again. I’ve just been dealing with it but I recently started training for a mini-marathon with my husband & I realized walking for even 1 mile has become too much for me to handle. 

I saw the physicians assistant 2 weeks ago & she confirmed that the battery is now tilting to where the top of the battery is really pushing up against my skin & the dam causing a lot of pain & soreness. I asked the PA if this happened with a lot of SCS batteries and she gave an emphatic no!  I also asked if me being a bigger girl could be causing this trouble & she said no to that too.

On March 22nd, I’m having surgery to move the battery to the right buttock & they are going to re-adjust the leads too to hopefully give me better coverage. I’m dreading this surgery because I’m going to have to be cut on the one scar line for a third time plus the other new incision. I’m terrified the battery is going to move again. I was careful in my other recoveries but I’m going to do everything really by the book this time. Absolutely no bending, lifting, twisting, & reaching for 6 weeks! I’m just nervous as heck over this whole thing. If the SCS hadn’t made my life so much better in terms of back pain, I’d be ready to have it permanently removed. 

Has anyone else had to deal with this happening? If anyone has any helpful advice, please share! Thank you for reading my looong post! 



  • BDUBSBBDUBS New YorkPosts: 38

    Hi SB., Sorry about the typos

      While I'm not a Dr. I have researched SCS and have a hunch. What brand of SCS has been used?

  • @sugarbear8979 my experience has been that batteries can and do move. I don't think it has anything to do with you being a bigger girl. I'm a skinny guy, and the battery from my first device shifted position until it was essentially on top of bone. I ended up having revision surgery to re-position the battery. It moved again, although not as much, and not into a location that has made it uncomfortable. 

    By the way, I don't think they can re-adjust the leads after implantation. My guess it that they will actually need to remove and replace, but your doctor will confirm.

    My only advice would be to extend your recovery another couple of weeks and not do any bending, twisting, stretching, etc for at least 8 weeks. Not sure if that will make a difference, but that seems to be about the average recommendation based on my research, and it can't hurt.

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  • sugarbear8979sugarbear8979 Speedway, IndianaPosts: 3

    It’s good to know I’m not alone, Vince in Philly. I’m glad that the second movement for you ended up somewhere that’s tolerable. You are right about the leads, I definitely worded that wrong. They will be removing & replacing them. Thank you so much for the recovery advice, that sounds like a great idea. 

    Hi BDUBS, my unit is a Medtronic RestoreUltra SureScan MRI Neurostimulator. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

  • Hi,

    I’m sorry you have had these issues. I had a full implant, then my battery flipped over on it’s side and was laying sideways so was protruding out quite significantly. I went and had the battery fixed and then the leads migrated and because the battery had flipped sideways again and they were putting a new system in again they replaced the battery yet again. My leads have migrated again (pretty much upon surgery and within the last week my battery has moved significantly (you can feel it directly under my skin and it’s freezing. You can see the outline and the corners sticking out and the hard rectangle shape. It is approx 1.25mm under the skin. Please note I am considered as medically thin and I am extremely inactive due to my conditions so my lead migrations, battery movements etc has nothing to do with what you were concerned about. I was also extremely careful during all recovery periods as I am physically unable of doing much but after the last surgery I was not going to risk ANYTHING! I also do not bend over at all anymore since having a stim in. Since my initial disease and illness diagnosis I am unable to sit so I always have to lay. I won’t be having any more stim surgeries after my last one. It has left me so much worse. My back is in excruciating ripping pain every time I move. I’m not risking making anything worse than this happening again. One lead was sideways at last X-ray and I’m avoiding going to see the next one. The lead end are a tangled mess and my back is constantly bruising as a result as is my backside with the battery as it moves around.

    I wish you all the best but you definitely are not alone battery wise! Good luck! 

  • I have the same problem with mine it is in the right buttocks  below belt line and has mitigated out of the pocket it protrudes under my belt in turn catches and all around causes alot of discomfort  also when on it cause pain around the site the proceedes into the right rib cage there tech people at St jude (Abbott) say that there is a head issue and it should be replaced well not going to happen I see a surgeon May 8th and making plans for total removal I hope you have better results with yours  also forgot to mention my previous IPG lasted 9 years with no problems my new totally revised 1 caused nothing but issues which was put in July of 2016 Good luck I pray they get yours right this time

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  • sugarbear8979sugarbear8979 Speedway, IndianaPosts: 3

    Thank you all so much for your input.  I'm 3 weeks out from the surgery and optimistic about the future.  So far, so good on recovery.  Thanks again for your help! 

  • Hello All,

    I had the SCS implanted on 3/23/18 and have had the best relief I've had, eve,r had in the past 14 years of constant pain. Unfortunately, it was confirmed today by x-ray that my battery has totally flipped making it impossible to charge.  This is day 6 of all my pain returning and I am just praying this is not going to be an ongoing issue seeing all the forums I have read the past 2 hours. I am awaiting a new surgery date to have it flipped and re-positioned.

    Mine is the latest model Wave-writer form Boston Science. Has anyone else had this issue?


  • I have my stimulator since october 2017..wires have  migrated once ..had a revision..doctor put on paddles so deep into spine when i would lean back in chair i felt it...drs then changed paddle wires into thin tube like wires. .i have been in such a great deal of pain..my battery has moved towards spine and when i sit walk lay down any movement i can feel it rubbing. .i have given up and having the whole thing removed july 12...i am in more pain now then what i started with. ..im going out of my mind with this pain. .good luck with yours

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