SCS implant removal

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New Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 5/11/2009 10:48 AM (GMT -6)   
I am considering having my Medtronic neural implant removed.  I have had it for two years and it helped the nerve pain in my right leg quite a bit.  It was installed due to right lower back/hip pain.  I had an SI fusion in 2005 and a laminectomy in 2006 to try to alleviate pain but neither helped.  When I recently (2/10/09) had the screws removed from the SI fusion the nerve pain in my leg mostly has gone away.  The only remaining pain is in my right lower back/hip - it is still quite substantial but the stimulator never helped that area anyway.  Has anyone ever had experience with the removal of an implant and is there danger in removing the leads?
I still take hydrocodone for the pain even with the implant.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 5/11/2009 4:00 PM (GMT -6)   
I was told they don't remove the leads. Typically the leads & cords are scarred into place & it would take a lot of cutting through scar tissue to get them out. Have you talked with your surgeon? Usually they will only remove the battery pack/impulse generator thing & then put a cap on the wires that used to connect to it.

I've never heard of a surgeon taking out leads after the first couple months. If yours is going to take them out, please let us know. I'd be interested in the details.


Also, have you thought about having new leads run to your low back? My PM told me that was an option for me. He would just disconnect the wires running up to my neck, cap them & then run new wires from the battery pack to my low back. Just a thought.

Stella Marie
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 601
   Posted 5/11/2009 10:27 PM (GMT -6)   
The leads are the thing you really want out. They are the main reason that you can never have an MRI after the Stimulator implant. I'll have to ask my doctor about this. That could be a real problem if a health concern arose and you absolutely needed an MRI.

Stella Marie

Rare neurodegenerative disease called “Multiple System Atrophy”.  Wheelchair, O2, & Bipap, intrathecal pump, neurostimulator, dystonia, neuropathic pain,  spasticity...etc..etc.

New Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 5/12/2009 8:06 AM (GMT -6)   
My PM doctor told me that running the leads elsewhere is only for pain at the skin level.  The reason they are in the spinal column is to affect the nerves in the leg.  I will ask the surgeon next week about the leads.
Thanks for your help.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 487
   Posted 5/12/2009 11:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Madmal1:
After having a SCS for about 10 years, I had to have the entire SCS system (generator & leads) removed due to an infection, and I had the surgical leads which are sewn in deeper than any other type of leads, and I had it reimplanted 6 months later, so it is possible to remove it all. 

New Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 5/13/2009 7:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you - that gives me some hope!

New Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 5/27/2009 10:23 AM (GMT -6)   
I am having the SCS and leads removed Monday morning.  The surgeon has never had a problem removing the leads in the past but stated it is possible they may have to stay.  I am hopeful that the pain the SCS causes will be enough to make me functional with no pain meds?
I still have to take pain meds now so even if I do I am hopeful there will be less pain.  Thanks for your help! tongue

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 5/27/2009 12:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi mad1mal:

Just wanted to wish you good luck with the lead removal. I was told that sometimes they can't get the leads out because of scar tissue but they can remove the tunneling cable and battery. Hope everything goes well!

Author of CHRONIC STIMULATION, a blog about living with chronic pain and a spinal cord stimulator (neurostimulator). I would love for you to visit!!

Post Edited (Danimal) : 5/27/2009 11:57:27 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 42
   Posted 5/29/2010 9:48 AM (GMT -6)   
I am getting the SCS trial on June 9,2010.

If anyone can give me some pointers on what to do or not to do, it would be very much appreciated.

I am VERY nervous about this, just because I will be awake during the procedure.

Thanks so much


New Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/16/2010 11:30 AM (GMT -6)   
I had my SCS taken out and they also removed the leads.

As this was dated 5/29 I'm pretty sure you had this done, it hurt and there was a lot of pressure, but a great Dr.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 10/24/2010 7:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I am brand new to this web site.
I had a spinal cord stimulator surgery performed on 4/21/2010.
Had to return the hospital by emergency on 04/24/2010.
This was due to SEVERE, excrutiating pain. Another cat scan revealed that I had a huge hematoma post SCS implant surgery.
A second surgery was done on 4/25/2010. Result was Massive Blood accumulation due to my previous implant surgery.
I also had Major problems with urinating. (Catheters installed and removed along with some overnight hospital stays).
Medtronix reps. said they've done their best; that's it.
I still have implant leads/battery inside my body.
I still have ED+++ problems post surgery. Still feels if I have a belt tightening on my lower abdominal area 24/7.
Looking to see if anyone has experienced the same.
Thanks everyone!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16796
   Posted 10/25/2010 10:46 AM (GMT -6)   
TJ since this is such an old thread I am going to ask you to start a new post here so everyone will see it. I am afraid leaving it as is you will not get much of a response. All you have to do is click Post New Topic-type in your heading and then start typing away.

Welcome to Healing Well's chronic pain forum.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum
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