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Removal of spinal cord stimulator

adventureraadventurer Posts: 22
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:52 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Hi - I had my stimulator put in in Feb. of 2009. After getting programmed multiple times, I love it. It really helps with my tail bone pain and pain and fiery feelings down my legs.
My Doctor wants me to have it removed so he can do an MRI of my spine. I had a fusion in Aug. that collapsed after 5 weeks, was redone and I'm doing pretty well, but having a lot of numbness in my feet and legs - mostly left one. I had a myelogram to try to discover the problem. Ended up with a spinal fluid leak in late January and have been doctoring to try to seal it ever since. I have a tethered spinal cord and have had two surgeries inside the cord, plus five others outside the cord, so there's lots of scar tissue and hardware. We've tried blood patches, fibrin glue patch, a drain in the cord for five days in the hospital with nurses turning me, and another five days, to try to seal the drain site. That's where we think it is leaking now!
Now, before he does anymore poking, he wants to remove the stim so we can see better what it going on.

Has anyone out there had there's taken out? Did it cause a spinal fluid leak? Did you have it put back in?

Hoping and praying it will heal on it's own before May 3rd when I go back to Mayo.


  • I had my SCS removed because it just was not working for me.

    No, I did not get a spinal leak and you should not get one either. Having mine removed was a piece of cake. Much easier than the actual implant.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers :H
    Patsy W
  • nycolennycole Posts: 4
    edited 09/13/2012 - 10:54 AM
    Did u stay over nite, what happen,did it hurt much
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  • No,, it did not hurt me much at all....not as much as the implant. I went home that same day and within a week was fully recovered. I did not have the paddle leads and they may be more difficult to remove. Plus I did not have the SCS implanted very long. Perhaps that is why it was so easy on me. I felt so much better when it came out. Seems I was allergic to the metal leads and that was why I felt so bad all the time plus I itched all over all the time. The itching stopped too.
    Having one removed is really no worse than having one implanted.
    Hope this helps.
    Patsy W
  • Thanks patty it helps more than the scs does lol
  • terrie beatricetterrie beatrice Posts: 1
    edited 06/19/2014 - 3:56 PM
    Finally I've gotton my surgery date for removal of my St. Jude SCS. Ive had it implanted 5yrs with no success or any help for my pain at all. Because of inept hospital personnel its taken me months to get a surgeon appt & medicare approval. Because I had to be my own advocate & actually go up to the hosp to complain my surgery date is June 24, 2014. Ill never get another implant for any reason. The doctors benefit by getting paid, but some patients (myself) only end up with more pain.
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  • sandisandi Posts: 6,269
    edited 06/20/2014 - 4:24 AM
    Unfortunately, for some patients, the scs implant was not a good idea, and it doesn't work to relieve the pain. Did you undergo a successful trial before implanting it permanently? Was your pain relief at least 50% during the trial?
    In cases where the pain relief was not at least 50% reduced, the permanent implant should never happen. At least according to the manufacturer's recommendations and standards.
    I'm sorry that you are facing removal of the implant but hopefully, this will lead to a better outcome for you and possibly getting a better diagnosis and treatment with it removed.

  • I have had my SCS for 3+ years. It quit working totally after 4 months. I am now 18 months out from an L4 L5 - L5 S1 fusion and have not felt this good in years. I now want the St. Jude stimulator removed. Any suggestions on the best way to find a surgeon to do the removal?
  • You can contact the surgeon who implanted the device or consult with another pm office about removing it. A board certified spine surgeon may also be an option. One thing though, they may not be able to remove the leads for the device. Once they are scarred in, removal is much more difficult and normally, they can remove the battery and have to leave the leads in place.

  • I had my non-functioning spinal cord stimulator removed today. I suffer from permanent nerve damage to my sciatic nerve. My neurosurgeon and pain management doctor thought this would be the golden ticket for pain relief for me. It was the "shiz" when it worked - that was three years ago. After losing over 80 pounds, the stimulator was not able to hold a charge as it overheated and quit charging. We tried reprogramming and placing towels under the charging unit-to no avail. I finally decided it was time to have this mutant device and its paddles at T11-12 removed. This is the most painful experience I have ever endured. Perhaps it is because this procedure was performed in an outpatient facility and I was sent home less than two hours after the explant? All I know, is that I'm laying, sitting, and standing in many different positions and cannot get comfortable. Does anyone have any advice on how I can get comfortable. I do have 2 mg of Dilaudid that I can take every four hours. So far, absolutely no pain relief whatsoever.
  • You can use ice , 15 minutes on and then off for at least half an hour. Laying on your side, with a pillow between your knees may help.
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