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SCS removal

Im having my SCS removed. There is pain at the base of the leads. The battery has moved and is bulging causing pain. And since having L3-S1 fusion 1yr ago i do not have back pain and do not need to use it. My concern is the removal of the leads. Ive had the Stim for 4 yrs. My surgeon feels confident that the leads can be removed. Has anyone had leads removed after several years. And if so, what can i expect ?


  • I didn't have leads I had the paddle and only bad it in for 6 months because of staph(see my discussion) and there was SO much scar tissue it was the hardest one for him to get out. I also had 5 surgeries before that to clean out my incision but I feel like the leads are much easier than paddle
  • The scar tissue is my worry. The area that will need to be opened to remove leads has been opened 5 times and i had a staph infection there also. I thought straight leads were easier than paddles. Im glad yours were able to be taken out. Was there alot of pain in the area where the paddles were? I dont have an issue with the incision pain. I guess im wondering about the lead area and how long recovery will be. 
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  • My surgery was very hard, like you I've had my incision opened 6 times and all because of staph, they will
    be able to get to it even if there is a lot of scar tissue. I ended up staying 4 nights due to a spinal cord contusion when they took it out. The pain in my back is bad but because I still have an open wound that they are trying to get closed but it wasn't that bad. There will be slight pain but better than it went in and the recovery is usually a week but  for me I'm almost 4 weeks post op and not cleared. They also had to take more bone out of my spine to get it out. 
  • Is your incision still open because of infection ? And thats the issue your having as far as pain goes. Im sure that is very painful to still have an open incision. Can it be closed ? I had a revision of it 6 months after i got mine and the prongs for the leads had to be removed. My openings were all surgical. Lots of fusions. It got infected during the Stim trial. Took 3 months for the infection to finally clear and have inplant. Im wondering about needing bone out.
     Ive got a hard lump about the size of half a grape on my spine. Its right at that opening. Although mylogram was "normal" . I guess ill find out at surgery time if bone is an issue. So overall you felt it was an easy surgery despite the post surgical complications ? Why did you have yours removed after such a short time ? 
  • Yes definitely an easy surgery if you do not get the complications like I did. I had staples to close my incisions the last surgery and started having discharge so they took them out early causing my incision to open and it now gets packed everyday to help it heal from the inside out and I'm also on iv antibiotics because I've been dealing with this staph infection since December. I see my surgeon twice a week as I am very prone to getting staph again. Mine had to come out because the staph went all the way to where the paddle was and I was close to going septic which could of costed me my life. I'm only 19 the youngest patient of his to have this done by 20 years. I will re try my SCS in 6 months to a year when there is no sign of infection and my body can handle another surgery
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  • I wanted to add my experience on my Medtronic stimulator removal on 4/4. I had been trying for 18 months to get it out due to a large knotty bulge in my back where the leads meet. The pain was so bad it lead to tears and awful pain. My pain doctor took it out but didn't go into the consult room afterwards to answer any questions my wife had or the questions I had prepared. When I asked my wife what he said when I come to she said he didn't show. The head of all the recovery nurses who had over 40 years experience could not believe this. She apologized over and over and was informing the head if the hospital. My wife called the doctors office today and wanted to know what was found in my back. The doctor did call her cell phone about 30 minutes later. He said they found a lead with scar tissue on it. I wish everyone in here could of heard what he was saying. I was called someone who couldn't tolerate pain. That everyone at one point or another develops the same scar tissue and they leave theirs in. He basically called me a wimp. I was listening and it took all I could to not cry. If everyone goes thru the pain I have went thru for this long then I guarantee you there would be no stimulator implanted. Sad thing is I can't do anything to him or about his actions. Has anyone else had a doctor say things about them like this.

  • I forgot to add the hospital where he is at doesn't employ him. He has a contract to work there. I recently found this out. Is this normal. 

  • I would really appreciate any help from anyone on this forum as my doctors seem pretty useless at this point.

    I have a questions for those who have had the paddle and leads removed.  I will try to make a long story short. I had an SCS implanted on 11/7/17 with 2 thoracic laminectomies.  Three days later I ended up in the ER (sent by my surgeon) for chest crushing rib pain, front and back.  I was bedridden for 5 weeks until the stimulator had to be removed due to infection.  The paddle and leads were left in place in the hopes of attempting another SCS implant on the other side in the future.  I was discharged with a PICC line for 30 days of IV antibiotic infusion, and will finish my 3rd month of oral antibiotics in a couple of weeks, for a total of 4 months of antibiotics.  As an aside, what was supposed to be a 1-1/2 hour surgery turned into 5 hours with blood loss and a drain.  My neurosurgeon blamed all the problems on scar tissue from the test implant.

    I continue to have crushing rib pain that begins in the lower right ribs, radiates to the left side and then up into my chest and back.  Even the waistband on my jeans irritates the area, and feels as if I have been punched (never have been).   A thorough cardiac work-up and tests for PE were negative.  I last saw my neurosurgeon 2 weeks ago.  When I continue to complain about the debilitating rib pain he just shakes his head and says "I don't know".  He is in a group of world renowned neurosurgeons, with 20 years experience, so I felt I had the best.  He did tell me that my SCS implant was the most complicated he had ever done due to the scar tissue.  I never had back surgery before, although I have had dozens of L-spine injections, nerve burns, etc., so he said the scar tissue is from the test implant (which I was told was only a needle in the thoracic area), so it's hard to understand how I could have developed so much scar tissue from a needle in a 5 month period of time, which was the earliest I could have the permanent implant done.  I was encouraged to wait until the new MRI friendly Medtronic was approved by the FDA in October, 2017.  I can feel the paddle every time I move, up down, side to side, etc.  I feel it when I move my arms in any direction.  When I try to wind my grandfather clock it feels like an elevator is going up and down my spine.  When I sit or lay back it feels like I am wearing a backpack full of ping pong balls.  I now want to have everything removed (paddle and leads).   

    CAN ANYONE TELL ME OF THEIR EXPERIENCE OF HAVING THE PADDLE AND LEADS REMOVED.  The stimulator was removed on 12/15/17 because of the infection.  The rib pain is debilitating.  I cannot do simple things like empty my dishwasher, fold laundry, etc., before the rib pain begins within 1-2 hours.  The only way to relieve it is by lying flat for at least an hour.  When I get up to try to begin activities again (very SLOW activities-lol), the rib pain begins again within 10-15 minutes.  

    SO, basically, I am far worse off than I ever was before the surgery.  I was functioning pretty well on low dose narcotic medication.  I thought that by now I would be completely off medication or only need it on a prn basis.  My test implant was a marvelous success with about 80% relief of back pain and peripheral neuropathy.  I have no other health problems.  The permanent surgery has caused one nightmare after another.  I've lost count of the number of times I have been sent to the ER

    I have a friend who lives in another city who is a hospice nurse and married to an anesthesiologist.  They think I should go to the Mayo Clinic, which is only about 25 miles from my home.  However, after reading online reviews about that particular hospital I am hesitant.  At this point I don't even leave my house (I live alone.  Thank God for Amazon :) ) unless I have a doctor appointment because I am afraid of the rib/chest/back pain starting, and would be unable to lay down if I am not home.  

    The paddle and leads have been in for exactly 5 months now, and I am wondering how difficult it would be to have them removed due to scar tissue, and how the area felt after surgery.

    Has anyone here experienced anything similar to this?  If you developed a lot of scar tissue, were they able to remove the paddle and leads.  My fear is that I am stuck for life  with this hardware in my back.  I feel that having the implant was the worst decision I have ever made.

    I researched this procedure for two years prior to my surgery.  I have read cases of others who have had the rib problems, but they are old posts and I have not received replies to my inquiries.

    HELP if you can!   Thanks so much!


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