I agree with Gramps 100% about expectations. I think it is also important to remember that the representatives are paid a large $$ bonus for each device sold. The SCS (spinal cord stimulator) emits an electrical impulse that basically masks the pain that you are experiencing. It does not stop pain – it just disrupts the pain feeling. Some people find the electrical impulse, which I would describe as a tingling sensation, as pleasant. Others cannot tolerate the feeling. That is why it is so important to have a trial of the SCS before having the actual device implanted.
The SCS is implanted just under the skin with leads close the the spinal column. Patients are given a hand held controller that allows adjustment of the impulse. Mine contains 3 programs that stimulate different areas (feet - lower legs -upper legs, etc.) and I can select impulse intensities from a scale of 1 to 15. Personally, I cannot tolerate anything higher than 9. Because I also have an intrathecal pump implanted, I find that the higher impulses from SCS bothers my pump. It creates an odd feeling that I can not explain, but I find it uncomfortable. One thing that the sales reps mislead me about was the frequency that my SCS would have to be recharged. If I use my stimulator at strong impulses over and extended period of time, I have to recharge every 4 or 5 days. Recharging involves using an external recharger and placing it directly over the SCS and keeping it in place for a couple of hours.
Even though I have the SCS, I still use a great deal of oral pain medications, as well as duragesic patches. So do not think the SCS will eliminate your use of pain medications. It is just one more tool you can use to lessen the intensity of certain types of pain. In no way is an SCS ever going to eliminate all of your pain.
Good luck and I will be happy to answer any question your may have about my experience with the SCS.
Dx: Rare progressive neurodegenerative disease called Multiple System Atrophy (brain rot, autonomic system failure, neuropathic pain and a whole lot more). Added improvements: Intrathecal pump and a spinal cord stimulator and a new brand new power wheelchair with shiney horn,.
Medications: Sinemet, Requip, Klonopin, Baclofen, Provigil, Lyrica, Fentanyl patches, Lidoderm patches, Dilaudid, Fentora and Zofran