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Problems 3 wks post SCS implant

IEIIE Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Hi, I am new here and have a question about the post-op period. I had an ANS stimulator implanted, paddle leads, at T9/10. It was implanted almost 3 weeks ago.

A couple issues I have been having:

I have a tearing feeling along where the wires are running whenever I turn at all, or lift my arms. Also, the side where the wires are running remains fairly swollen.

I also do not have much stimulation down my right side, I have bilateral neuropathy, have had 4 lumbar fusions L3-S1 are fused. I have also had 7 ankle surgeries and have some pretty severe right ankle pain.

Questions: Is the tearing feeling a normal part of healing from this procedure?

If at 3 weeks post-op I am not getting the stimulation that is effective for pain relief down my right leg is there any chance without revision that as the leads scar in I will gain more stimulation there? Leads appear to be placed in good position.

Thanks for your help!!



  • 3 weeks post op there is still a lot of swelling. The wire tunnel can and will be prone to irritation for quite some time. I still to this day take daily anti-inflam to fight the inflammation my SCS creates depending on my activity. I am nearly 20 months post op.

    Have you scheduled a reprogramming session with your rep? As swelling decreases and scar tissue builds, the impedance in the system increases and can drastically change the stimulation pattern and strength. I highly recommend contacting your rep to see about reprogramming.

    You may never have complete coverage, but you should be able to gain adequate coverage to help in the over all pain management. The SCS is not known for giving 100% pain relief.

    Welcome to Spine Health. There's a wealth of information here and a lot of really great folks.

  • Thanks!

    Went to my surgeon today, also saw my ANS rep. He suggested that the ripping feeling could be that the wires were implanted too deeply?

    The paddle lead on the right has migrated, they want to repeat the surgery and place a new lead a level higher : (

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  • Glad you were able to hook up with your surgeon and rep so quickly. Keep us posted on your progress.

  • On the migrated lead.

    Sorry to hear you may have to do another surgery.
  • Can the implanted lead not be repositioned at 3-4 weeks post-op? I guess I am still hesitant to undergo ANOTHER laminectomy at another level. Thanks!!!
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  • If it is a paddle it should be sutured in a way it stays put.
    I won't speculate on how it possibly moved.
    I will say that if it is sutured and needs to be moved I do not see a way they can move it without more surgery, sorry. Trust me I know how you feel, I certainly do not look forward to the eventual replacement of mine and that should be many years down the road.
  • My theory is that it was due to the myelogram I had to have 9 days post-op. I lost motor function of my right calf and ended up in the hospital :( It was after that when I really noticed the stimulation field changed :(
  • Did the doc who did the implant do/assist or know about the myleogram 9 days post op?

  • Does the process of doing a myleogram show the leads?
    If so and they are done in series you may be able to see before and after shots to tell if the lead moved at that time, or had moved before the procedure?

  • Hello!

    I had an ANS unit placed on 12/11/09 after a 4 day trial. I don't understand the the reasoning for the mylegram test either. Don't they strap you down on a table and turn you upside down after injecting dye? I think pressure on your back from gravity may have disturbed your leads. I feel for you having to deal with the possibility of another surgery......real bummer!

    Overall, I'm very satisfied with my stimulator. Met up with my rep at my surgeon's office to change up my program a bit to get better coverage. I have neuropathy in both of my feet and some sciatica in my right hip/buttock. My "stim" is set on a lighter frequency so it tingles more than the heavy pulsating sensation. I did ask my neurosurgeon about seeing the pain management docs to find a med to help cut out some of the burning sensation in my feet. I'm hopeful we can find a complement to go with my stimulator.

    I wish you the best. Drop me a note sometime if you want.

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