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Bone Stimulator

JoyJJoy Posts: 559
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
A friend of mine has one of those bone stimulators that are implanted under the skin. It was supposed to help with her pain, but didn't. Can you have an MRI when those things are in? She had a 3 level fusion done about 3 years ago---6 screws and no cage. She has been in terrible pain ever since the surgery. I'm trying to convince her to go see another doc 'cause she says they say they cannot do anything else for her? Would they really do a fusion like that and not put in a cage? She is only 42 and is almost totally disabled (although they have not approved her for disability). After spending the day with her, I feel so very blessed and thankful. Just wanted to see what you guys think.


  • Bone stimulators, the kind my MD uses for patients (I work for a spine surgeon) are strictly used externally. They are not used for pain. They are used to help promote bone healing, thus fusion. I would suggest your friend get another opinion.
  • Bone growth stimulators are worn outside of the body. Spinal Cord Stimulators are implanted in the body to relieve pain, but they only work when they are properly charged and you use the "remote" to activate them. I didn't want one, not only because I didn't want some machine floating around in my body, but because I was sure it would be just one more remote for me to lose!! :P Is it possible she got a spinal cord stimulator without the means to activate it?


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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  • There are implanted bone-growth stimulators, but they are not for pain, they are for bone growth. They usually stop working after 9 months or so cause the battery goes dead. They can leave it in place or remove it with a minor surgery if it is bothersome to the patient. We have a member named Kinpain who had one implanted during her fusion surgery. Now a spinal cord stimulator is for pain, but that would have a device to control it/adjust the settings and so forth.

    Now several years ago, they used to do fusions without cages all the time. There is posteriorlateral fusion, where they put bone graft or substitute over the tranverse processess. They also used to use autograft or allograft between the vertebrae where they now put cages. So it is very possible to have a fusion without cages. I believe the cages are new and improved technology.

    Joy, I wish your friend luck, and I hope she will at least get another opinion. Perhaps check into this BGS she has. If it is truly just a BGS and she is not a surgical candidate, maybe she is a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator or an intrathecal morphine pump. Encourage her not to give up. >:D< Cali-Sue
  • Thanks! I will definitely be "prodding" her to get another opinion!
  • I have PEEK 'Spacers" places between each level where the disc came out and I have screws and rods to hold it all together.
    The graft and BMP was then put in around the spacers.

    JOY, I hope your friend finds some relief, she really needs to go see another Dr or even back to her original one to find out what she ahd done. Did she fuse do you know?
    And maybe now that you have read so much here it would be good for you to go with her to an appointment as you probably would be more inclined to ask the right questions or write her a list to ask.

    Blessings Sara O:)
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  • Thanks for the info. She was told she had "Failed Back Syndrome." She's a little spacey and it takes a lot of questions from me to get a straight answer. Unfortunately, she lives about 1-1/2 hours from me and she has no transportation. I took her for a colonoscopy yesterday which meant I was sitting from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 pm last night. I do think I will offer to go with her next time. Good idea.
  • I have one that I can wear over My back brace, Your suppose to wear it for 4 hours a day.
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