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Problem with charging the battery

anjuanaanjuan Posts: 236
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
I decided to go ahead and try to charge my battery even though it isn't on low yet. Once you hit the button for the Boston Scientific charger it will continue to beep until you have the charger aligned with the battery. Well, my charger won't stop beeping even when I am sure I have it ligned up with the battery. My rep said it would charge even if it keeps beeping, but it is so anoying.

Has anyone else had a similar problem with their battery? Could it be the swelling?


  • When you charge, what type of clothing are you trying to charge through? I have found that although I can get my programmer to communicate with the IPG through multiple layers of clothing, my charger will not. To avoid problems with heat (which will abort charging) and to get a good signal, I will charge through clothing made out of 100% Polyester. Clothing such as jogging shorts or jogging pants work excellent.

    Items such as cotton shorts or cotton undergarments interfere with the signal and also promote heat build up. Charging directly on the skin also promotes heat build up and pocket irritation.

    Also, depending on the location of your IPG and what activity you are doing during charging, it causes a disruption of the signal. I like to relax in the recliner and watch a good movie while charging. It allows me to establish a good signal and keep it during the charge.

  • They gave me the option of charging using a belt which they provided or a sticker to use to attach to the skin, however they didn't want me to use the sticker until I was completely healed. I used the belt and put the charger directly next to my skin and not over clothes. I hadn't thought about charging over clothes. I did just check my manual and the pictures all showed using the charger next to the skin. It is interesting how different chargers are different.

    When I tried to get the charger to the right location I was standing up. Since my battery is implanted in my back right side above my waist the recliner won't work for me. I will probably lay on my side on the couch while charging.

    Do you think that I still have inflamation that is making it difficult for the charger to locate the implant?
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  • When the different IPG's were tested for the ability to charge and how much heat each one gave off etc ... they were all tested under the same exact circumstances and parameters.

    I started charging through polyester jogging shorts due to comfort with the IPG pocket. I figured that the polyester would allow things to move ever so slightly to keep from irritating the pocket. It worked great and launched quite an experiment in days to follow.

    The concept of charging regardless of the shape, size and manufacturer is all the same. The ability for patients to successfully recharge was one of the biggest hurdles faced for SCS technology in the last few years. Keep in mind, that all the testing is done in simulated conditions by technicians who are just measuring responses and documenting numbers and results. The real field testing is done by those of us who have the actual implants and real life situations. I read the manual and got advice from the rep on how to recharge and used that as a baseline.

    When I wanted to streamline the process, reduce or avoid overheating, gain better and more consistent signal strength and reduce the time it takes to recharge, I started to experiment. I tried different materials, different positions and different activities until I found what works best for me and my system.

    My IPG is in my upper right buttocks/hip area, right below my beltline. By sitting in the recliner, sometimes with a small flat pillow, I can align the charger and IPG for excellent signal strength. By relaxing and watching a movie, it gives me a way to keep charging from becoming a task or a burden that I don't look forward to. Instead it becomes a nice way to just kick back, relax and watch something enjoyable.

    It is still very possible that you have inflammation since it hasn't even been 2 weeks since your surgery. I know the first few times I charged, I had to do partial charges due to inflammation and irritation. Have you tried using an icepack on your IPG pocket for 10-15 minutes prior to charging? I had to do that a few times initially too. As well as ice after charging for 10-15 minutes.

    Stay in touch with your doc and rep and let them know if you have continued issues with charging.

  • Julie,

    I use the belt to charge. I always set my charger up while I'm standing and almost always get 8 bars, right off. My normal position for using my laptop and/or watching TV is to lay on my bed, on my left side. From watching the bars on the charger, I've discovered that when I lay down on my side, my signal immediately drops from 8 bars to 2 bars. It doesn't feel like anything moves, but obviously something big changes with that particular positional change.

    Also, I had a very hard time charging in the beginning, because my IPG is in a "curve." One of the things I found that really helped improve my signal was to sit on the toilet. It sounds weird and I have no idea why it worked, but it did. :))(

  • You are not that far post op and yes you probably still have swelling. My rep told me that the majority doesn't come out until about 8 weeks. You may not see it but it is there. I am not sure if this would disrupt your charging. I have an ANS unit and I charge through thin clothing. If I were to have jeans on it would take twice as long to charge. My charger beeps if there isn't a good connection. Try laying on your side and moving the antena just a little to see if that helps. Mine has to sit perfectly on the IPG or I will get a beep. One thing my rep told me is it will charge without it being placed right on the IPG but it takes much longer.

    I find charging with the belt to be easier but I can get a better placement on the IPG if I don't have the belt on. I hope this helps.
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  • Thanks for everyone's advice! I tried again today and I was able to get the charger lined up where it stopped beeping. (The things that get me excited today. LOL)

    Monib, the Boston Scientific charger doesn't have an antenna. It is u shapped and flat on top with a button on the front to press to charge.

    I am happy to say that most of my incision pain is gone. I think it is going to be harder to continue to remind myself about no BLT, especially since my daughter is back from her grandparents.

    Unfortunately I do feel like my programs need to be modified again already. The one that I really liked has started to wrap around to my stomach and it really bothers me. I guess I will be seeing my programmer a lot.
  • Glad to hear that you had success in finding a way to charge. Don't be surprised if from time to time early on, that you run into issues charging. A little patience and experimentation with body and charger positioning, usually solves the problem.

    Keep a good record of the changes to your stimulation field, it will help your rep understand better what is going on.

  • As I mentioned on Tuesday my programs had become ineffective so I called my programmer and we met again yesterday morning. I just can't say enough good things about her. She told me that she wasn't surprised that we needed to meet again and it was totally normal. It took some time for her to find the right areas, but I once again have four new programs. My favorite program is one that I have the capability of individually controlling the strength, rate, etc of the stimulation in each leg.

  • It's amazing how fast stuff is changing on the inside while the outside just sort of plods along through the healing process, isn't it? :))(

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