Hi Uniquely me:
My experience with the Spinal Cord Stimulator has been a complex one, so I don't know if I am a good person to ask or not. Let me start by saying that I am one of those people that if anything can go wrong, it will. If it wasn't for bad luck, I would have no luck at all.
I have had the SCS for about 9 years and I have had lead wires break & slip out of place, I have had a build up of scar tissue that caused me to loose the sensation of the stimulation because the leads were not making contact with my spinal cord, I have had infections that requires the doctor to make new pockets & move the device to several different locations in my back only to get an infection in the new pocket, and had to have the whole device taken out. Then I had to be infection free for 6 months before they would put it back in. And, because my pain level is consistenly very high, to get any relief, I have to have all of the settings on the SCS as high as they can go in order to feel the stimulation and thereby, get any relief, so I go through what is supposed to be a 5 year battery in as little as 2 months or a maximum of 1 year.
Obviously, I am not a typical case, and the problems I have had, have not been because the SCS is poorly made, or because of a doctor's error, the lead problems were because of a bad fall, the infections were the result of MRSA (antibiotic resistant staph) that I probably picked up in the hospital, and the scar tissue and my pain level aren't the device's fault, but because of all of these issues, I have had round leads, flat leads, & surgical leads, and have tried both the rechargeable and non-rechargeable type units.
Many people have asked why I didn't just give up, but the truth is that if it weren't for the combination of the SCS, the intrathecal pump, and the oral meds for breakthrough pain, I don't know where I would be right now, if I would be here at all (I hope that doesn't offend you, I am just being honest). Even with the devices and the meds, my pain level is a solid 8 - 9. Occasionally, I am blessed with a "7", but I also have days where I hit a 10 and wind up admitted to the hospital for a few days until they can get the pain back under control.
The 6 months I had to go without it because of the infections were very difficult, and I could not wait for them to put it back in.
I hope I have answered your questions without scaring you half to death, obviously, I am not a typical case. I have met people who have gotten tremendous relief from it, have been able to greatly reduce their oral meds, and been able to return to work, and I have met people who it did nothing for, but that is what the trial is for.
If you have any other questions, & you don't mind a brutally honest answer , feel free to ask.