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Getting SCS Trial Tomorrow; Any Last Minute Suggestions?

jayciejcjjayciejc Posts: 59
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Hi Everyone,
I am getting my Medtronic SCS tomorrow morning at 8 PST. I have read and reread so many of the posts on here, but want to make sure I know everything to ask about. I did try to find out which model I am getting, but to no avail. I am excited, but a little afraid that it won't work. But I am trying to keep a positive attitude. I have been waiting for one for more than 2 years. One problem my doctor said he may have is installing it with all the metal I have in my spine. Has anyone ever had this problem? I am lucky that he is going to knock me out for just few minutes while he first puts the leads in, then wake me up so I can tell them what I feel. So I am not worried about pain at all, unless I am shocked. I get shocked by my nerves anyway, so that shouldn't be a big deal.
Any info would be helpful. I am printing out "the 5 things I wish I would have known" post on here.


  • They should of already given you the dvd that has all the information with the scs. They give me dvd before the trial. Remind them maybe they give it to you from the rep when they send you home. Rep should give you his card with his phone number to contact him or her if any problems come up once you are back at home. Good luck
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • I didn't get a DVD when I went for my preop appointment, and have never met with the rep. I had to ask what brand I was going to get. I really like this pain doctor, but he hasn't been good about informing me about the SCS at all. I have called his office a few times to get info. I will be sure to get all of that from the rep tomorrow; thanks for reminding me. One of the calls I made to the doctor's office was to make sure there was even going to be a rep there tomorrow! Thanks again Alex. I hope they come up with something that can help relieve more of your pain.


    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, cadaver bone, bone from my hips, 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 tomorrow!
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  • The way this is approached seems to vary from PM doc to PM doc. I had company reps come try and talk to me in the hospital while I was on a ketamine IV and PCA. Don't recall talking to any of them. My PM doc gave me a DVD and info packet and I did a bunch of research on my own. I found the DVD and info to be more of a glamorous marketing package and preferred what I read elsewhere. I did make a list of questions which the doc answered and I felt confident that I could manage the trial.

    For the trial, there is only one model that the company uses and the specific implant model is chosen after a successful trial and the decision to go ahead with the implant is made. Then the doctor tries to match up the best model for the patient.

    Having hardware can make it more difficult to place trial and permanent leads. Scar tissue is also a big concern. Generally it's a (you don't know until you try) type of situation. The doc didn't know how far up my c-spine he was going to be able to place the leads. He basically placed them as far as he could until scar tissue kept them from advancing further. The next challenge was to see if the leads could be programmed to give me the coverage I need. Like most everything else in medicine, it's an art and the doctor's are pretty incredible artists.

    Good luck with your trial.

  • Thank you for the info! I too have found that doing my own research usually gives me the best info. So thank you so much for adding to my list! I didn't know they only had one model that they use for the trial. I do know that I have had 3 major lower spine surgeries and tend to have a lot of scar tissue and arthritis. I think getting the leads up there is going to be my biggest challenge also. This doctor has a pretty high success rate, I think mainly due to the fact that he is picky on who qualifies for one. I sure hope it works. I mainly want to be able to sit for more than a minute or two without feeling as if I am sitting on a blow torch that someone is pounding in. I am going to say my prayers then hopefully sleep for an hour or two.
    Thanks again everyone; you are great!
  • I hope the trial implant went in without too much pain and difficulty! I have a Medtronic and am very happy with it. It took time to adjust and figure out what worked for me - it really is a lifestyle change (of sorts), but now it's become a normal, regular part of life and I don't have to give it much thought.

    Keep us posted on your progress :)
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  • I did get it installed 2 days ago and I think it is going to work. I am trying not to be too excited or too cynical; does that make sense? I am losing most of the soreness from the incision now so I can focus on my problems from before the SCS. I do try to turn it off every so often to see how much more pain I am in. I definitely feel worse with it off. I am still on my same amount of pain meds. Last night I left it turned on a little higher than the previous night and slept more at one time than I can remember. So that is a real good sign. I had to see the doctor yesterday as his office was concerned about the amount of bleeding I had, but he said since it had stopped it was okay. I was walking a little wonkie; is this normal? So at it point I am very hopeful that it is a success.

  • I had the easiest surgery ever! My doctor knocked me out for a few minutes while he installed it. I never felt any pain at all while at the surgery center. I also remembered to ask the Medtronic rep about unlocking the bandwidth (thanks to the person that told me that!) and that has seemed to help me. The rep was really impressed about how much I knew and I told him it was all from you guys here! It really does help to have some knowledge going in. I have had no problems adjusting the controls at all. So thanks again everyone!

  • I was so hopeful and was getting some pain relief, but kept waiting for it to take away my tailbone pain when sitting. I posted a new topic about it if you'd like to read it. I don't know why any of the doctors or the rep told me it doesn't work on tailbone pain before I got it. I need to be able to sit!

  • I'm sorry to hear the trial did not work out the way you'd hoped. #o It's a good thing they do trials before full implantation! But I am a bit surprised it didn't hit your tailbone. Mine is buzzing away as usual, and I can feel it there. Did they try reprogramming the unit to catch the problem/missed area before removing it?

    In my trial, after the lead was inserted, they woke me and turned it on, and it was perfectly placed. When the doc pulled out the needle used to insert the lead, the lead moved, and a good portion of my back lost coverage. I went ahead with the trial without them moving it back (it was painful when they inserted it) and since it worked everywhere else, they noted the proper placement for the full implant from before the lead moved.

    If they couldn't cover your problem area, and you didn't get reasonable relief, then it's a good decision not to go ahead. Keeping in mind that SCS is not a replacement for pain medication, it's a tool used in conjunction with medication and other therapies to provide a higher quality of life. I hope you manage to find what works for you :))) A medication pump is an alternative you can discuss with the doc...hopefully s/he will have some other ideas for you.
  • My PM is sending me to a new neurosurgeon to see if there is something she can do. I have considered the pain pump, but am not going to have my insurance much longer so I am afraid of not being able to have it serviced when needed. They are talking about putting me on methadone. I hope if they do that it doesn't knock me out. I also will not tell anyone but a few close friends if I am on that or I really won't hear the end of "you are such a druggie and we want nothing to do with you" from my family.

    Thanks again for your kindness and suggestions.


    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 just finished my SCS trial that started out great, but ended poorly. I kept thinking it would start helping my tailbone pain, and it didn't.
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