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injuries from spinal cord stimulators

susaninpainssusaninpain Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:58 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Has anyone suffered from paralysis or nerve damage as a result from Trial Spinal Cord Stimulators? I woke up after having one implanted in severe pain and no longer able to walk. I spent a week in the hospital and 2.5 months in a nursing home. (The SCS Implant was removed in the hospital). Doctors told me they could not say if I would ever walk again. It has taken me 10 months and a lot of physical therapy but I can now walk with the aid of a walker. I am still suffering with major pain issues due to the nerve damage. I still am unable to sleep in a bed. I have to sleep sitting in a recliner. While I was in the nursing home the Doctors there hooked me on Oxycodine. They gave me such large doses I was hallucinating and would pass out. I have been able to reduce my dosage to a much more resonable amount, however my goal is to withdraw off of it altogether. But I cannot seem to find a non-narcotic able to control the pain at a tolerable level. I would like to hear from anyone who has suffered a similar injury as a result of these spinal cord stimulators.


  • Oxycodine come in an iv? I thought oxycodine only comes in a pill, I never heard of anyone being injured as you describe from a scs trial. And i had 2 trials already,

    I am not sure how they can damage a nerve just by a simple scs trial, From surgery yes , but never heard it hapening to anyone from scs trial.

    Its a prety simple procedure and if it dont help the pain they just pull the leads right out,

    If the cause of nerve damage is from a scs trial then the dr had to be real bad, i have heard the posibility of infection can hapen that could cause some coplicarions with some people, Is that what hapened in your case?
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Hooked as in addicted too. Not hooked up to an IV. They gave me the oxycodine in pill form. NO, this was not from an infection. What happened to me is a result of the leads damaging the nerves along the spinal canal.
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  • test lead implant manual said:
    Warning: As with any spinal procedure, the risk of serious injury to the
    patient (eg, hemorrhage, hematoma, or paralysis) increases as location
    of the selected needle insertion site progresses up the vertebral column
    — from a lower risk at a lumbar location to a higher risk at a cervical
    location. Select a vertebral location that provides the widest and easiest
    access to the epidural space during needle insertion to reduce the risk
    of serious patient injury resulting from direct trauma to the spinal cord.
    As you can see, it is one of the risks of the procedure. I'm sorry that this has happened to you and I wish you continued success in regaining the use of your legs.

    I've not heard of anyone having this sort of issue from trial lead implant, and knock on wood I did not suffer any ill effects from my trial lead implant or the permanent implant.

    As far as pain control, that is something you will have to diligently work on with your doc or pain management specialist. There are other alternatives to control pain, some obviously more effective and safer than others.

    Sorry I can't be of more help.

  • Oh ok got it, Sorry i missunderstud the hooked part. They got you hooked on oxycodine, How long were you on it to be hooked on it?

    I been taking norco for probably almost 20 years now changing it up once in a while to something else so its keeps working, I dont think i am hooked on it even after 20 years, At least i dont think so, Maybe i should stop taking it for a week just to see if i end up holding up a gas station or something eh?

    Sorry the scs caused you so much problems, So what hapenes to you now for pain control?

    Best wishes,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Oh great thanks for the warning, i could of done without knowing that C.

    My pain dr talking about doing another trial with the flat leads, sometimes i rather not know the risk, I rather go in there dumb and stupid and come out pain free, wishfull thinking,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
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  • I have a friend on another forum who was injured during the trial for the scs unit as well. The leads were shoved around the canal and caused serious damage to the cord in the thoracic area, leaving her with permanent damage. Her trial however was done by an anesthesiologist/pm doctor, rather than her PM doctors and he never showed up afterward to even tell her what happened.
    She is still struggling today, almost two years later. She also was paralyzed in the incident, damage to her bladder, bowels, etc...
    It is one of the reasons that I will not go through the trial at this point during my life. Maybe later, in the future when my pain management options are dwindling but for now, I will keep doing what I do now.
    I wish the OP the best of luck in regaining her use of her legs and any other damage that was done. What about the use of nerve pain medications instead of oxycontin? Those type of meds are usually far more effective in treating neuro pain than opiates.
  • ive been looking on the net for days now to see if anyone was having the same problems i was after having the trial stimulator removed,after i got the leads pulled out i have new pain,its a sharp pain,it goes from the incision site and radiates down the middle of my back,i never had this before,i also suffered from major muscle spasms while i had it in,hence the reason i didnt get the permanent one.no sign of infection either,just dont know what would cause the pain,sorry you having such a hard time,i hope u get better soon.

    btw i have ddd,a laminectomy lower back sever nerve damage,failed back syndrome
  • HI Joyce,
    Have you had any MRI's or CT scans done since the trial to make sure that there is no damage or compression?
    If I were you, that's the first thing that I would do is talk to my PM doctor or surgeon and if they won't order the tests, talk to your general practioner and have those done to confirm that there is no permanent damage.
    Taking out the temporary leads sounds so simple- we just pull them out, but if there is compression in the canal, or spondylolysthesis or bulging discs or herniations, yanking out those leads can cause more damage if not done carefully when the trial leads are removed.
    Best wishes to you,
  • Received perm SCS But removed A MUST READ
    On 2/12/2013 I received the permanent SCS outpatient surgery. Complications for 1 month included hematoma under right backside under rib area where battery implant was installed. The leads were installed in thoracic area and they were not installed correctly and did moved. SCS did not work. A month later I went in for a redo and on 3/26.2013 I a waken in the recovery screaming and crying from the pain. I can take all the pain that’s thrown at me but not this time. Nurses were giving me Dilaudid Iv injections and nothing worked. They tried everything. So me laying there moaning up and screaming a storm. They decided to call my wife in to recovery room and for her to bring in the WIFI remote. They were planning to try out the stimulator to see if it would stop the pain/CONTROL. Well earlier when I was in surgery the Boston Scientific territory regional manager requested my wife to give him my SCS wifi remote so he can reprogram it for when I went home it would be ready to use. Anyways back to when nurses asked my wife for remote. When my wife walked into the recovery room. She saw me in the worst pain I ever have been in. Remember I already had this surgery a month before. The nurses then received the SCS remote and proceeded over to the foot of my bed. One on the nurses then turned on the power. Damn thing was powered on high. The worst pain ever when the SCS is on high and all your muscles/nerves have a shooting pain from mid chest/back all the way down to my toes. Bad thing was that the nurses were screaming at me on how to shut it off. Yes they did not know how to use the SCS. I practically was dead already after a god forsaken minute (BP/TEMP/Pulse Skyrocketed). Bad thing was my wife and mother in law watched the whole thing. Half dead the doctor finally came in and leaned over and asked “I hear you are going to sue? I replied what the F%$# are you talking about”. I then tried to explain to the doctor what happened. Then one of the nurses yelled at me not to worry about the past and to worry about the future. Doctor then said since I can’t talk pain he is going to admit me into the hosp. Worst night in my life that night in hosp. Next day they released me without doctor coming in to check on me. I had the next night screaming due to pain. I was still taking morphine sulfate er 30mg every 6hrs, Dilaudid 4 mg every 2hours, and oxycotin every 8hrs. The fallowing day after screaming all night and 3 day. I then called BASIC (look it up) and talked to head RN. I explained somethings wrong. She replied that I needed to shit. Bit#$! She then said if I insisted that I’m in pain. For me to go to any ER. I went to Chapman memorial hosp er where I had the surgery done. As soon as I walked into the ER they gave me 1000mg of Demerol and volume. Did not work and I stayed in the ER for another 10.5 hrs. Was finally admitted into hosp and I requested for this damn SCS to be removed. In morning I had the surgery. Turned out that both of the 2 SCS malfunctioned and doctor also wrote that I had a very bad shock from the SCS in recovery room(I have doctors surgery DOCUMENTED report). Cant poop and takes a long time to for me to start peeing. In more pain and I only had Lumbar problems. Now I’m in pain in the Thoracic area where the SCS was installed twice and then removed. WORST thing is that I could not find a malpractice attorney and a medical device malfunction attorney . Was told I only had 1 year to file lawsuit or was this a lie. HELP SOMEONE!
  • I am going to try to comment but I will probably run into snags. Please bear with me as at least give you encouragement of what you have been through. I am also surprised no one else commented on this post as it has been since Dec of last year since you have written. After I had the permanent implant, I did not have ill effects and excruciating pain like you had. Basically, it was done by a good neurosurgeon which helped a lot. I too, have been in chronic pain for well over 20 years with different kind of pain meds. Some were a little better than others but did not help very much. You say that you have no success with the pain meds that were given to you. The best pain med I had was also Demerol, 100mg every 4 hours. It did work and it was great until it wore off after 2-3 hours. I was also able to sleep a little. Yes, that is addictive because you want more for the pain. You on the other-hand was given 1000mg of Demerol and you would think that it would not only relieve your pain but put you out for quite sometime. That would have been sheer pleasure for you. But, if it worked, you would probably wake up in more pain. What I am having a problem with is that how the doctors and staff were treating you. It looked like it to me that they had a hard time dealing with you and probably wanted you discharged right away due to the screaming you did and more than likely scaring other patients. Why would they want that in their hospital? It is unreal with the things that they do. I had bad experiences in certain hospitals as well. I know Chapman College but not their medical center or even if they are related. I gather that you talked to the head nurse over the phone as she said you have to take a dump. What is that all about? After spending a good 12 hours in the ER, with the Demerol and such which didn't seem to work, I imagine by taking out the stimulator itself wasn't the problem but the electrodes that was inserted into your spine. The way you are subscribing this is that there was a catastrophic problem with either the electrodes or maybe something causing it to get stuck. It's no wonder you went into shock. Did your doctor implant the SCS in your spine correctly? Since you have all the documentation, you should have all pertinent information for a lawyer. What about the notes being correct? Surprisingly to me is that no attorney would accept you as a client. I would think if they will win in a malpractice suit, it would be on a contingency basis. One of the biggest problems is that hospitals hire the best lawyers for their defense and unfortunately they do win from time to time. It's also possible that lawyers who you bring your case to, don't want to go up against large hospitals. Maybe they are not experienced enough. To seek the best attorneys like in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach and other affluent areas would not consider a case as yours because if some reason they lose, guess who will pay? These lawyers make tons of money and generally take on very affluent people. Money is generally up front and I bet their is very little or no contingency at all. I don't know your case so I cannot rightly give you any opinion. As such, since I am not a lawyer, I could never tell you what you should do. One thing I cannot believe is that you have only one year to file. Personally, I don't think so. I don't know what CA law is but I would be pretty sure that you have longer than that. This doesn't even give you time to do a thorough research.

    I do hear you and feel what you are going through. I wish I can raise a magic wand and say everything will be OK. Although I have bad to worse chronic pain for years on end and my differs from yours. We can never experience one's pain against another so it is extremely difficult to elaborate on that. What I can do is to empathize with you and wish you all the best for yourself. I was always told that there is a solution to everything, only if you go to great lengths to achieve it. If there is a will, there is a way. Best of everything to you and if you believe in God, even that helps. I hope what I said will give you encouragement.
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