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Travel after SCS Implant

BrothersBBrothers Posts: 78
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Pain Management

Assuming I have a positive experience with my SCS trial scheduled two weeks from now, I will be having an SCS implant at the Pain Center I have been visiting 150 miles from my home. I would like to ask those who have had an SCS implant for leg pain due to lumbar spine problems, how long after my implant will I be able to go home? Suppose I ask someone to drive my car and I sit in the reclining passenger seat. Clearly not the same day as the surgery, but should I wait several days to make the trip home?


  • I told you about how I went on a road trip from Wisconsin to Mississippi one week following my paddle lead implant. I actually found the trial to be much worse than the actual implant. (Remember, afterwards, I asked the PM doc if after me she was going to Guantanamo to torture prisioners.) If you've been living with nerve pain in your legs of such severity and of such duration that you are seeking out a SCS, you will find the permanent implant to be a piece of cake. I feel the need to insert a disclaimer at this point but I do not actually know anyone who's had a really, really bad time with the permanent implant. If its paddle leads, they will keep you over night. When I took my road trip to Mississippi (where my BMW broke down and we had to have it towed out to the la-di-dah suburbs and rent some weird ugly little Chevy), I did bring a pillow and a blankie and spent almost a whole day sleeping in the back seat. So, I wasn't sore but I was tired---very, very tired. Oh--and I also developed a post-surgical depression. Neither of the later items would prevent you from going home the day after your surgery. If the surgery is going to take place in a "place of interest" and you would like to turn it into a surgery/vacation trip, stay over. If you want to go home as soon as you are relased from the hospital, there is absolutely no reason I can think of why you shouldn't be able to. My hospital was almost two hours from home. My husband picked me up and we took a couple of my clients out to lunch that day before driving home. Be sure to check with your doc to see that I'm right. C and Cherish and Bionic Woman and all the rest of us are eager to welcome you into the club. We're just not sure if we can trust you with the secret handshake. Susan.
  • The hospital where I had my implant is ~70 miles from my home and I was able to tolerate the ride home on the same day. I actually left the hospital about 5 hours post-op, with the laminectomy/paddle lead placement. For me, the worst part of the trip home was getting in and out of my vehicle. Once I was settled in the seat (with lots and lots of pillows!) the ride itself wasn't really that bad, with the exception of a couple areas of major road construction that were really bumpy.

    You'll almost certainly need someone to drive you, because most doctor's won't clear you to drive so soon after the implant. I wasn't cleared to drive until after my 2-week follow-up. Of course, that will be something you'll want to discuss with your doctor, since there seems to be so much variation among doctors these days. :)

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  • I traveled 75 miles the day after surgery. Only pain I had was getting in and out of the car. I would say it is transistion. Once you are comfortable in the car...and you are not the one driving you should be ok. Ask your doctor to make sure. They might even give you something for pain while driving if they see you are hurting when you leave. My trial was painful...actual implant was a piece of cake. Hope all works for you and you get the relief you are seeking.
  • I agree that it shouldn't be that big of a deal to travel. Transitioning from sitting to standing makes the IPG pocket burn for a few minutes but it settles as you settle. Of course I can't comment on paddle lead insertion other than I have traveled a lot after other lumbar laminectomy surgery and it was no big deal as long as there were some pain meds and muscle relaxers.

  • Thanks to my friends for your responses, which help my planning. Based on your experiences, I probably will be able to go home the day after surgery. The only exception was Pete. [Pete has been banned from SH, so he has responded privately.] Pete was in really bad shape prior to the SCS implant, and he had a difficult implant experience. After two nights in hospital, he had a difficult 45 minute ride home. I am sure we all wish Pete eventually finds pain relief.
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