Well, first of all, I can promise you that the permanent implant is tape free other than a few steri-strips on your incisions, and no awkward wires and bulky device to carry around, lol.
I was in a very bad car accident in 1995, and have had a total of 23 back surgeries and I am left with severe nerve damage to the nerves that control my ability to walk. Early on I was told that they could sever the nerve and my pain would be relieved, but I would never walk again. As a mother of 3, that was not an option, and now I am told that because it has been several years and the surrounding nerves have a "memory", if they sever the nerve now, I would likely be in more pain, and never be able to walk again. I am a very complex case as in addition I have several other issues with my spine that all contribute to my very high pain levels.
So, my only other option in addition to pain medications, is to try and "desensatize" the nerve or interrupt the nerve messages to the brain which is what the SCS is designed to do.
For the first several years, I ran the SCS with all settings as high as they could go 24/7. The problem with that was I was going through what should have been a 5 - 7 year battery in as little as 2 months, and the battery change requires another surgery. They do now have the battery that is rechargeable from a device you where like a belt for so many hours every couple of weeks. I tried it, but because my battery usage is so high, I felt like I was connected to a wall plug like a lamp. I chose to go back to the non-rechargeable battery.
My neurosurgeon and I felt that changing the battery every 2 months was just not realistic, so I now try to use it only on my really bad days, which is still a couple of days a week, and as a result, I have stretched the battery life to about 6 - 8 months.
I am one of those people that if anything can go wrong, it will, & I have had issues over the years with leads slipping out of place, a build up of scar tissue between the lead and the dura which caused me to loose the "tingling" sensation completely, as well as a bad bout with MRSA (anti-biotic resistant staph) which necessitated revision of the device, or with the MRSA the SCS had to be taken out altogether until I was infection free for 6 months and then it was reimplanted.
I am not telling you this to scare you away from the SCS, in fact, what I am trying to say is that despite the problems I have had (none of which were because of the device malfunctioning), I would never want to be without it. For me, the SCS along with the intrathecal pain pump and my children are the only reason I'm still here today.
I don't know if I answered your questions well or not, but please feel free to ask away if you have anything else you would like to know. There are a few others on this forum that have them as well, or have gone through the trial and are awaiting the permanent implant and some who have decided against it, and I'm sure they will be around to give you their thoughts as well. I sincerely hope that I have not scared you in any way - I just believe in being totally honest about my experience so that you have an accurate description to go on.