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SCS and Pain Pump questions! Please help!

spunky21sspunky21 Posts: 161
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Chronic Pain
I was going to post this in the SVS section but it seems as though so many go to this area of the forum and I am desperate for some help. Keep in mind I have read the questioons and answers on the actual SVS forum and perhaps I missed the answers, if so, I apologize but I am looking for information as soon as possible so any input will be of great help. I have an appt with PM dr for a SCS eval on Tuesday the 14th. I am quite sure I am going to have to reschedule as due to some other medical problems, ear infections, eye infections and increased pain levels I have not been able to get prepared for this appt.
I am permanently disabled due to injuries sustain to my neck, shoulder and lumbar areas. I had a level 2 cerv. fusion 3-08 which failed. I had a complete tear of rotator cuff surgery 3-03 which has retorn and lumbar issues at L3,L4, L5 & S2. Only can stand for approx. 1-2 minutes so mostly in recliner or wheelchair. My husband is also disabled due to heard condition. Luckily we both qualified for SSDI within 8 wks from the date we applied. We are now on medicare or rather a Regional PPO Medicare Replacement Plan. It covers more than the standard medicare coverage. However, we are both in the donut hole and will have to pay out of pocket 9000. for meds. This does not include our ins. coverage and co-pays. We lost our home last year due to out of pocket expenses in excess of 20,000. Well I should get to the point. First of all we lived in Michigand and my PM dr referred me to a dr. regarding both SCS and pain pump. Since moving to FL my new PM who is a neurologist has referred me for the same thing. Quite honestly I am not even sure this is something I want to do. I feel as though when the dr.'s have done what they can they automatically refer you for this type of procedures. I am very scared, every single procedure I have ever had I have had complications starting with the C-section I had for the birth of my son in 1981. Ended up with 3 blood transfusions. Rotator cuff surg. developed football size bloodclot and retorn. Cerv. fusion, failed and neurosurgeon had issues which paralysed my rt. vocal cord. So you can understand my fear. Along with the fear I guess my major questions are can I afford to have this done. So here are my major list of questions and I am so sorry for rambling but this is what nerves and being scared can do for me.
1. Trial for SCS is this an out-patient procedure or any overnight stays. We have to pay $250.00 per night.
2. Permanent implant same question as above.
3. Trial for pain pump and permanent placement outpatient or require a hospital stay. We pay $250.00 per night for first 10 days on all hospital stays.
In addition to this we have deductibles to be met and co-pays for each procedure.
I do so want some relief for the pain and I know how important it is to be proactive in ones own care but sometimes it all comes down to the expense. I do plan on calling my insurance company tomorrow to get exact dollar numbers but I know many of you have had these procedures done and could give me a heads up in so far as hospital stays and how well either one or both of these procedures have worked for you. Also, I know the insurance companies are looking to see if you have tried every conservative method prior to going through this. I have only had one set of epidurals. I feel I have a strong threashold for pain but honestly I screamed through the entire procedure. I have tried the tens unit with no success and I own the RS-41 larger stimulator with no success either. Also, as many probably all of us would love not to be on meds our entire lives, I feel my dr.'s will think if I do not go forward with this that I am just looking to stay on oral meds. Believe me if we could afford it I would do anything to get some relief. I have also tried every therapy I think think that is available. Prior to having to leave my job of 30 yrs where I was injured (did not receive Workmans Comp as CEO filed wrong paperwork) my so called dear friend. She told me to do the WC ins yet as soon as I had to get an attorney involved not one person has spoken to me. I was the VP and apparently WC is forbidden.
I am so upset, scared and depressed over all of this. I just don't know where to turn. And again I am so sorry for taking up so much of your time and probably posting on the wrong forum. I did post there a couple days ago but response was very low and I am at my wits end. I could cry my eyes out but have done that and it isn't helping at all.
You have all been so kind to everyone and the few times I have posted your words of inspiration helped me get through the rough patches. Looking forward to any help as I finding my positive outlook is on a downhill spiral.
Thank you so much for listening to me and again sorry for the lenth.


  • The reason the responses have been low, is due to the fact that there are not very many folks here who have either an SCS or a pain pump. By posting the same questions in different forums, it winds up splitting responses and confusing those who are trying to help by answering you.

    As far as whether the SCS is inpatient or an outpatient procedure, depends on you and your doc. Normally the trial is an outpatient procedure and the permanent implant is generally outpatient with percutaneous leads and inpatient for paddle leads (since a laminectomy is done to place the paddles)

    As far as pain pump trials go, it all depends on your doctor, your condition and which type of delivery system your doc wants to try. Remember, not all pain pumps are the same or have the same delivery destination. So that will determine what kind of trial you would have and whether or not it's an overnight stay or a few dsys
  • jan...
    i am sorry you are in this bad situation. i too cant stand and am confined to a wheelchair.
    plus you have the money problem. i got so angry reading that your boss didnt submit proper WC paperwork. my first thought was to file suite against the company for the negligence.
    i have had the SCS but it hasnt helped my situation. the manufacturer claimed 70% of the inserts provide relief. my personal pole would place success at more like 50%. i do feel if a person has an opportunity for relief they should at least try it. you will know after the trial if it helps. the expense for the trial wont be terrible.
    if the scs works you may save a lot on meds.

    feel free to PM me for further info

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  • as I'm looking into the same options...but leaning toward a pain pump and not the scs...but want you to know we are all here for you and thinking about you.

    Sorry for you nand hubby both being disabled!
  • I am sorry I did post in both rooms it is just that I only have a few days before my dr.'s first eval. and as I said I am getting freaked out.
    I have been doing alot of research today. It's kind of funny I will type in a question in the main search engine and it takes me right to this forum. So much information out there. In my reading I have noticed some have cervical SCS and others have lumbar SCS. Since my problems are equal in the pain levels can you get both. Originally that is what I thought I would have but could not figure out how. I am still extremely concerned about the costs of the whole procedure. I wish I would win the lottery! I know thats not even funny but the cost of health care for both my husband and myself leaves very little for anything else. I realize if this works for me then there could be a cost savings on my meds. That would be wonderful. I am just so confused and as I said not even sure this is what I want to do right at the moment. Do I want to have less pain well that is a given. I don't know if I mentioned I am diabetic controlled at time with meds and sometimes I don't need meds at all it just stays controlled. I don't know if that is why I have a very difficult time healing. I read a post about people who are whiners and are negative about everything. They like playing the "victom". Please do not get that opinion of me. I rarely complain about my pain to anyone or even discuss my problems. I just had to come to my fellow spineys for help because I am so baffled and worried. Right now I think I would rather pursue the pain pump but I feel I am at a point where making a decision on this is just perhaps not the right timing. So much has happened in the last two years not to mention the prior years with my poor hubbys health. You have all been most kind. I have absolutely no one to talk to about this. I will keep reading but sitting is such a task in itself I am so tired and sore.
  • decided to call ins. co to get info on costs and requirements. I could not afford this equipment if I wanted it which I am still leary anyway but would have liked the option. The co-pays and deductibles are way out of my league. Glad I made that phone call before I spent the copay for the specialist. Honestly, I just don't know what to think. The cost of being disabled is huge even if you are on SSDI and Medicare.
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