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Electrode Implant Surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,550
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:27 AM in Pain Management
Having electrodes (2) implanted today to manage the chronic pain profile I have outlined in (my) Medical History. I do have reservations about this, as anytime the epidural is being punctured the risk of infection, leakage and the resultant "worst headache-in-the-world" are possible complcations.
Would love to hear from anyone that has had this done--percent effectivity, complications, etc...

George (Paramarine) Whitehead


  • George , I haven't had this done but I at least wanted to pop in and welcome you to Spine Health. You will find a ton of support and understanding from our amazing members here. If there is anything that I can help you with then please just let me know. I wish you the best of luck on your procedure and please post back when you can with an update....take care....Miki
  • Alas! The leads could not be located properly due to boney structure--fused bone graphs over vertebrae--at least not without removal of some of these stabilizing fragments. So on we go...

    Has anyone else had these same issues? If so, were you able to go to the next step?

    George (Paramarine) Whitehead
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  • Are you talking about the SCS - spinal cord stimulator? I'm unfamiliar with electrodes other than this. I just got my permanent SCS and love it. Doc had problems with the procedure, though, due to scar tissue and some anomaly with my spine. Did you have a thoracic MRI prior to this procedure (I'm assuming they tried to implant in your thoracic region)?

  • Congrats on a successful SCS technique! Wonder how your team was able to work-around the scar tissue/bony-growth obstacles for lead implants...? They could NOT get the leads low enough to affect the right nerves--I did get the chest-buzz, ribs, etc...but what level I need is the hips and groin. Yes, I had an MRI just prior (1 week old) to surgery/trial--but there was too much interference for normal location.
    Will meet with the doc this week to discuss alternatives. Wonder if they could use surgical (open-up a length of the cord vs. simple lead install with radiological mapping) technique that would allow the removal of specific interference, etc...?
    If anyone else has any ideas--please send 'em!!!
  • I am having my MRI on Tuesday to see if this is an option for me. I have not had any back surgery even though I ruptured discs about 13 years ago. At the time I was living in California and Loma Linda wanted to do fusion, but a reknowned neurosurgeon said with my scoliosis, stenosis, degenerative disc disease and my allergy to steroids, I was not a good candidate for surgery. I have been managing with pain meds and now cannot take any since I have developed an allergy to every class.
    I have gone to a pain clinic here in Washington state, and the doctor said "I was in a pickle." He is the one who suggested these inplants as the only thing he could think of to do.
    From reading the above posts, I wonder if the false bone I was told I have formed around the injured part of my back will be a problem. I didn't even know this could happen until I had a bone density test.
    Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.
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  • You never know until you try. If your doc is willing to give a trial a shot, then what have you got to lose ... nothing.

    I hope he can help you get some control over your pain.

  • I don't know exactly what they did to get the leads in the right place. I do know they gave me a zillion lidocaine shots, did lots of pushing and pulling, I heard the nurses asking a zillion questions as he used some technique on me that they had not seen before. He said it was because my back was so difficult.

    I know it wasn't pretty. I wish I hadn't heard it all (lol) but I was comfortable. Opposite of my trial experience where a different doc experienced that same scar/anomaly nightmare yet continued on despite my pleas. Very little lidocaine although I begged for more and my programmer literally passed out - had a vaso vagal reaction to my pain experience. It was horrible.

    Neurosurgeon thought he wouldn't have that problem so he went ahead with the percutaneous leads. (Programmer thought he'd surely go paddle after my documented trial experience). I think the NS was eating some crow when he got done. He came to my room afterward and would not leave. Kept asking me if I had felt any pain because he had promised me I would feel no pain. (I had teared up when I heard he was going to do percutaneous leads - told him how bad it was, OMG OMG OMG and he swore to me he would not hurt me.)

    In the end, he got 2 leads in on the right side. No one knows exactly how or why they haven't moved, but I am being extra careful while I wait for them to scar down. (My unnamed/unknown anomaly in there.)

    But even though BOTH the trial and permanent placements were not fun, I still am thrilled I went ahead. That pain was temporary. Didn't feel like it at the time, but I knew the end result was going to work. I just knew it.

    Have you checked with the doc about doing paddle leads, where they go in one specific level, do a laminectomy, and sew in the lead?

    Good luck,

  • Thanks for the reply. I will certainly give it a shot as I do have nothing to lose. I am concerned about what kind of pain I will have from the procedure since I can't take any pain meds, but I quess it doesn't really matter. I'll live through it!
    Thanks, again
  • I am unable to take narcotic or narcotic like pain meds and managed to handle the permanent implant post op pain with Tylenol and Celebrex.

    The key is, knowing that the pain will only be a short term issue and the SCS relief will be awesome.


  • I am having a "paddle" put in via laminectomy on the 9th. My main concern is that I will be under a general and cannot "talk-through" the correct location for it. How can he locate the exact spot, or does the broad-front of coverage offered by the paddle (vs. the electrode lead) make this not as significant a factor?
    Congrats on your success with SCS--hope to join you in that regard shortly! George
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