Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Neurostimulator Trial and Implant

RoseFRRoseF Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:54 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Neurostimulator Trial
I would like to share my experiences with researching the neurostimulators for chronic low back pain and neuropathy in my feet. Also, I would like to hear about other person's experiences with these systems.

The first week of January 2011, I met with the representative from Medtronics to discuss and learn more about their neuro-stimulator system. After a 3-1/2 hour discussion, I felt that I had all the information that I needed to make a decision about going forward with the trial. Of course, after we parted I found that I had many more questions. This is when I turned to the web to search for my answers.

I spent the next 6 months going from doctor to doctor, going through all the steps necessary to even go through the trial of the neuro-stimulator. That would include the 1) initial visit with the doctor that would do the trial, 2) MRIs of thorasic and lumbar spine, 3) visit w/doctor that would do the surgery for the final implant of the system, 4) meet w/phycologist that would do a phycological evaluation; required by most insurance companies as part of this process, 5) visit again w/initial doctor to discuss findings from 1-4 above; then discuss whether or not to move forward to do the trial of the system.

There is really no reason for it to take 6 months for all this to happen; except for my own hesitancy to start the process. I wanted to ask more questions, do more research and make up my mind as to whether or not I actually wanted to have this system implanted in my body. All the while this was going on, my pain was increasing to the point where I almost couldn't stand it anymore, nor continue working full-time. I finally went on short-term disability from work, to persue the process of getting the system implanted. I figured that I would just start going through the steps and that somewhere along the way I would figure out whether or not I really wanted to have the system implanted. The two companies that I have been researching about their neuro-stimulator systems is Medtronics and Boston Scientific.

There are so many sites where you can not only get information about the neuro-stimulators, but also about chronic pain in general. The doctor's office recently gave me the info for a couple of sites that I haven't had a lot of time to spend looking at; however, after a brief visit, I believe they have a lot of information to offer.


The following are the urls for Boston Scientific and Medtronic:

I would like to stop here for now and pick up with another posting about my recent experiences with the trial of the Medtronics neuro-stimulator system.

If you have your own experiences and/or information to offer, please feel free to add your own post. I know that there are many people out there that can benefit from hearing about other people's experiences and information that they can share.



  • The following is information about my experiences with a trial of the Medtronic Neurostimulator system.

    Finally after all the steps you have to go through to get to this point, I was finally ready to start the trial of my own neurostimulator.

    Just a side note - the reason that it has taken me so long to get to this point, is because there was another doctor that I had been working with previously, that just drug his feet in starting the trial. It wasn't until after seeing him for almost 4 months, that I figured out why. He was so concerned about the insurance company paying for the procedure, that he didn't really want to do it. He didn't tell me that, I just figured it out from what was being said. What was frustrating was that the insurance company had already sent a letter stating that they would pay for it and also I called them just to make sure. What I was really upset about was the fact that he hadn't shared that with me 7 weeks prior, when I came back to him (Step 5) to discuss whether or not I was a candidate for the system and when could we proceed with the trial. Instead he gave me some other story about the fact that the insurance companies don't typically pay for the procedure unless I've had failed back surgery. So instead he suggested that I get a series of 2 steriod injections and just see if that helps. I told him that I had already had 4 steriod injections over the past 4-1/2 years. The injections help somewhat, but don't last more than 3-4 months. I told myself that he's the doctor, so I would give it a try. I have to tell you that I was very disappointed at this point, because all I had done the previous months to get to this point, only to be told that I should have an injection instead.

    After my initial doctor failed me, I spoke with my pain management doctor, who told me to go see another doctor. She gave me the name of a doctor in Seattle, who she though was the best. The bonus was that he can do both the trial implant and the final implant of the neuro-stimulator; no having to bounce between a couple of different doctors. As I have now found out, there are many to believe that he is the best doctor in this area that can do the neuro-stimulator implants.

    So on to my neurostimulator trial. First of all, you think you know what to expect. You know what the steps are; however, you have no idea what it is really going to feel like. Its hard to describe the feeling. I equate it to something that many of us did when we were little. I used to sit on my legs for a long time. Then when I went to stand up, not only were my legs numb, but I would get this tingling sensation. The tingling sensation is what it feels like to me.

    At this point, I should back up a little. Let's talk about the trial procedure and the implant of the trial leads. Of course, they give you all the paperwork and information about how to prepare for the trial procedure. Stop some of the medications and other over-the-counter medications you are taking, so many days prior to the procedure. Such as, aspirin; stop at least a week prior. Then the day before, no eating or drinking so many hours before the procedure, if you are going to be sedated. Of course I'm going to want to be sedated. The sedation does help to relax you. You are not completely asleep. With sedation comes the placement of an IV, used to administer the sedation medication.

    Once you are all preped, they will take you to the operating and/or procedure room. They have you ly face down on the table. Once you're all comfy and they have you all connected for blood pressure and oxygen check, you're finally ready for the procedure to begin.

    The doctor will start by giving you lidocaine injections for the pain. This numbs your spinal area, so that you don't feel any pain while the doctor is working on getting the leads placed in the epidural space. He begins by making a tiny whole in your lower spine to insert the needle. Its a special needle (which I forget the name), which allows the doctor to insert the leads through. Once he has completed placing the leads, he will put the dressing over the area, tape the neurostimulator unit to your side/back. Then you are ushered back to the area where they initially preped you. You then meet w/the Medtronic representative. This is where the fun begins. I spent about an hour plus working with the rep to set up the MyStim Programmer. She tryed what seems to be hundreds of different settings, asking where I was feeling the stimulation. She would then make adjustments, then ask me again where I was feeling the stimulation. Again, this went on for over an hour. During that time, she was also explaining how to operate the MyStim Programmer. This was the unit that I would be sent home with and use to make changes to my settings and stimulation patterns, intensity and rate. It's hard to pay attention while you're half drugged up. But you know its important, so you try as hard as you can. Once we finished this process, it was finally time for the car ride home. Unforturnately for me, that was about 1-1/2 hours. I did sleep for most of the way.

    Once I got home, it was off to bed. I slept the rest of the day away.

    Next post, I will talk about my week with the trial stimulator; how it went, what I did or didn't do, etc.

    Until next time, take care.

    Rose F.
  • Thanks for the info; I am trying to find out as much as I can before my trial SCS on July 20. My doctor really hasn't told me much, but I find that others that have actually had it done seem to know more about what to expect.

  • advertisement
  • Trial is realy simple actualy. And in my opinion they should not even make such a long drawn out process just for the trial. I had 2 trials in the last 8 years but sadly failed both times. Leads get put in the spinal canal which you dont feel anything when its put in anyways. Trial realy is not as invasive as some seem to think.

    Once its in place you have a rep from the scs company there helps you play with the setings on it see how you like it before you go home. Many times leads move so you might have to contact rep to meet again to change seting to mask the pain as best as posible. Wires are of course taped off on the skin so you cant take bath during trial. My leads moved too much all the time i think and seting was always changing where it zapped me too hard so i shut it down had it reset again but same thing kept hapening.

    Both of my trials went with about the same results so i never had it put in. So please dont over worry about the scs trial for in my opinion its simple. Many members here have it put in and are happy with it so they can tell you all about the surgery implant with it. I can only talk about the trial end of it because i decided against having it implanted.

    Hope this helps, Best wishes
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Best of luck with it". Hope it helps you and gives you some releif. Oops her post is from july 4th i just noticed. Hope they not zapped her up like a rocket for the 4th of july. Earth to Rose. Earth to Rose. This is Huston. The eagle has landed. Let us know how the trial went rose,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Alex,

    Sorry your trials didn't work. I hope you have found more pain relief in a different way. Thanks for the good wishes!


    I have so much hardware in my spine, and have had 3 revisions, that I need to sit down with my doctor sometime and find out exactly what I have inside me now. I did know, but didn't write it all down. I know I have at least 4 rods, some plates, cages , 4 screws that aren't included with that hardware, and who knows what else. I have at least 11 different levels that have hardware. I have DDD, spinal stenosis, arthritis, and other spinal problems. I am getting my test SCS trial in 9 days now!
  • advertisement
  • I just had a permanent spinal stimulator put in on July 25th. I had perfect coverage in my back butt and thigh the day of the procedure. Then it gradually started going out of my back. Went to bed,woke up and turned it on. Noticed that the stimulation completely left my back and was now in my right ribs.
    My fear is....does this mean the my leads have moved? I've done everything possible to make sure I follow the guidelines and restrictions. As a mom of a 2 and 4 year old,it was a bit difficult but I honestly cannot think of one restriction I had broken! Has anyone had this happen before? My biggest fear is that my Dr is going to have to go back in and move the electrodes...just the thought makes me sick! I hope someone can help me out. My email is bekah0656@yahoo.com if you have any questions about the trial or permanent procedures,been through them!
  • My husband and the “permanent” stimulator put in last Feb 2011, he did not get very good relief for his lower back pain, but it did help a bit maybe 30% with his butt/leg pain, however after several months it was not as effective and he would have to turn it so high to take away the pain, that he was pretty much immobile from the stimulation so it was basically a choose your poison situation, stuck in bed due to pain, or eclectic shock.

    We found out that the leads did move, now they want to go back in and fuse the leads in place since apparently the scar tissue didn’t hold, we are still debating whether this surgery is worth it or not? He still has the stimulator in but has not turned it on in over 4 months since now we have no idea where the leads are.

    I would not recommend it unless you had amazing results during the test period.
  • Good luck to your husband, did they use the flat leads on your husband or the regular leads? I just talked to pain dr and he is trying to talk me in to 3 rd trial using the flat leads he says stay in place much beter,

    When you cant take the pain anymore we do just about anything,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
Sign In or Register to comment.