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To stimulate or not

I had microdiscectomy and laminectomy two years ago.  I have had PT, TENS treatment, SI injections, spinal injections, pain killers, and never block medications but still have nerve related pain.  The physiatrist is telling me that i am a good candidate for a spinal cord stimulation trial.  The risks seem really significant and issue rates seem pretty high.  Any thoughts from this group on the risk/benefit of this procedure?  Anyone have any issues with broken leads, infection, paralysis?  




  • I went through all of the same treatments before I got my spinal cord stimulator - PT, TENS, steroid injections, surgeries, pain killers, etc. The spinal cord stimulator made a big difference in my quality of life. A trial is a good way to see if SCS will help with your symptoms. It's true that there are risks, and in fact my orthopedic surgeon was not a fan of SCS because of the risks when I discussed with him.

    However, it's worked well for me and I'm glad I went through with the implantation. Note that people can and do experience issues. I fractured my leads 2 years after my initial implantation and needed revision surgery to replace them. I also have a friend who got a very bad infection as a result of the surgery and needed IV antibiotics for a month to recover. I don't know what the complication rate is, but you will have to weigh the pros and cons for your situation and then make an informed decision. 

  • I am now about 6 weeks post scs implant.  Still recovering, but really happy with it so far. 

    @Vince in Philly  Do you know how you fractured the leads?  Was it a certain movement you did, or was it just the fault of the leads themselves?  Just curious...don't want to make any mistakes myself that I could avoid if I new better! 

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  • @wienslar I don't know how I fractured my leads. I had a battery replacement prior to the lead fracture and I'm not sure if that had an impact. It's also fair to say that I applied very few activity limits to my life after getting the SCS. I'm swimming, lifting weights, doing yard work, snow removal, home and auto repair, etc. so may have been pushing the boundaries of the system design. The leads are insulated of course, so the location of the breaks was not obvious when they were removed.

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