Questions on Neurostimulator implants

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Busy Mom 3
New Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/30/2009 10:00 AM (GMT -6)   
I am new to all of this but I thought some of you may have some answers to some of my questions.  My 65 year old father in law is contemplating having a neurostimulator (Medtronic) implanted for chronic lower back pain and pain in both legs due to stenosis in the spinal column from chronic osteoarthritis.  We are also dealing with him being overweight and trying to lose weight along with diabetes and COPD.  Can you give me any advice as to how this has helped you or if there are lots of problems with them etc.?  He is trying his best to lose weight but exercising is a no-go due to his pain.  Will he have any more success with that after an implant or is that kind of activity not allowed due to leads being moved etc.??  Also can  you really tell how it is going to work for you from the days of the test stimulator?  Does it take a few days to get used to it? He has had one hip replaced and knees that should be replaced.  I am a bit concerned about the MRI implications of the implant as well.   Any information that any of you can give will be most helpful to our family.  Thanks!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 4/30/2009 2:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Ask his doctor to get him into physical therapy as this might help, along with
getting him a recumbent bike as it puts less pressure on the spine, I have
spinal stenosis and arthritis in my lower back and I'm pre diabetic..The
physical therapy should help, I'm going see about getting a neurostim next year
as I hope to be a good canidate for it then, but for now do a google search on it...
Hope this helps.....
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's and Ocular Migraines


Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/30/2009 8:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Busymom-

I am a 29 year old woman and I had a neurostimulator implanted for leg and back pain on January 16th of this year. I am in the recovery period but things are going fairly well. I am glad that I did it and it is helping..although I still have to take methadone and morphine for the pain.

The trial lasts anywhere from 3-7 days. I had a lot of post-procedure pain and was in bed for much of the time. The surgery itself was pretty uncomfortable.

It's important to understand that there are two types of that uses percutaneous leads and one that uses surgical leads and paddle. The second type of system can only be implanted by a neurosurgeon (that's the type I chose) and it is a bigger surgery and a longer recovery but it has its advantages. Your FIL should discuss this with his doctor!!!!!

I started a blog about my experience and I discuss a lot of the issues involved in having a stimulator. I also have pictures of my incisions and pictures of my equipment with explanations on how to use everything (I have a medtronic RestoreUltra).

You should come visit, if you are interested! It's called Chronic Stimulation.

Here is the URL:

Best to you and your FIL,

Ms Kitty
Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 4/30/2009 8:59 PM (GMT -6)   
I have had my implant since 1996 and i wouldn't be alive without it.  It is worth its weight in gold.  No, you can't have and MRI but you can have ct scans.  Once the leads have implanted themselves you can exercise maybe not like a 20 yr old gymnast but you can do most exercises.  I have a medtronic.  I had my battery charged after 7 yrs 4 months - that was 7 years ago and I just had it checked and they said it has a lot of battery life left.
Severe diabetic neuropathy, 3 stents, arthritis, R/BK amputee
Duragesic pain patches, Vicodin ES, Elevil, insulin and lots of other meds

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 487
   Posted 4/30/2009 9:31 PM (GMT -6)   
I have had a Medtronics spinal cord stimulator implant for close to 10 years. I have had my share of problems - leads slip out of place due to a bad fall, too much scar tissue built up and caused me to loose the stimulation, as well as bad infections which neccesitated them removing the whole thing for 6 months and then re-implanting it all over again - I have had round leads, flat leads, surgical leads, chargeable & non-rechargeable batteries, and because I have to have my settings as high as they go to get the relief I do, I go through batteries very quickly. I have used up a 5 - 7 year battery in as little as 2 months, and the maximum life I've gotten is 11 months, and despite all of that I would not ever want to be without it.

I got more relief out of the trial than I ever have had out of the permanent implant. I don't know if the placement was just better and they never quite got it the same or if my body has just gotten used to it and it is not quite as effective, but to me any amount of relief is worth it. There is a recovery period after the initial implant where he will have to be very careful about his movements until the leads have scarred into place, and then he should be fine to do every day activities and moderate excercise as his body and pain level will allow.

I am still in a lot of pain every day, but for me the SCS along with an intrathecal pain pump and oral meds, makes the pain tolerable most days, and I am able to be more active with it than without it. I am diabetic also and have been working at loosing weight as well, and although it has taken me a long time, I have lost 64lbs.

I hope that I have helped answer some of your questions and not confused you even more. I am just trying to be as straightforward and honest as I can be about my experience. You will find some people that have had a 100% positive experience & others who don't like it at all, that is why they do the trial. If I can answer any further questions, feel free to ask.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 4/30/2009 10:44 PM (GMT -6)   
I am able to exercise more since getting my SCS implanted 3 years ago.

However, he does seem to have a lot of issues going on & the SCS does not get rid of all the pain in the entire body, just the pain connected with the particular point where the leads/paddle(s) are attached. Has he talked to his doctor about aquatherapy? It was much easier for me to do that since I didn't have the weight of gravity to contend with. Besides my back & neck, I have a lot of pain in my knees & the SCS doesn't help that at all. Doing exercises in the water allowed me a lot more movement. I did both aerobic exercises & weight-bearing exercises using special water weights & bands. I continued my aquatherapy post-implant & was eventually able to move to low-impact, land-based exercises like walking & the recumbant bike.

The no-MRI rule has been difficult for me. I had a serious complication from an epidural gone awry & not being able to get an MRI to test for stroke was really a problem. CT's are not as reliable & finding problems is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The insurance companies are not terribly fond of paying for multiple CT's for the same body part during a short period of time, so that is a serious issue to take into consideration. On the other hand, if his doctor is saying that he will be able to get up & moving after the SCS is implanted, perhaps it could help enough with the weight, diabetes & other health conditions to outweigh the negative of not allowing MRI's.

Wishing your father-in-law the best with his treatment,
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