Wife is having a Spinal Cord Stimulator installed and is terrified

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/16/2010 11:25 AM (GMT -6)   
My wife had the bones in her wrist and hand destroyed by a surgeon a couple of years back and although we had
many surgeries to fix it, she still has a lot of pain.  Tried all the narcotics and such, but this is not helping much so the
pain specialist suggested SCS.
She having the SCS trial surgery on Monday and is terrified the surgeon is going to nick her spine and she will end up paralyzed.
I understand the surgery is quite long and have asked to be there in the room with her but this was not allowed.
Anyone have any experiences to share which will help her calm her nerves a little?

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/16/2010 12:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I did go over the "Neurostimulation stimulater implant" thread and understand it works for some people, not all who have one installed. I am more interested in the operation details though.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 914
   Posted 7/16/2010 12:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Hang ih there Mrgaunt , I don't have the answers you seek but I wanted to welcome you to our forum , and I'm sure there are some members who can help you with your question . Just be patient , the folks here are wonderful I'm sure you'll get some answers . Mikel

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 7/16/2010 2:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mr. Gaunt,

I just went through a neurostimulator trial last week & had the permanent system implanted a week ago today. My situation is slightly different, as my pain is in my face & thus my leads are in my face, not my back, & my stimulator is implanted in my chest. However, from my experience, the trial is no big deal. The trial surgery took about an hour (with probably half of that time being devoted to prep) & was minimally painful. There is a small incision where they tunnel the electrodes under the skin, but that's it. The permanent implant is more involved, but even that isn't too bad.

If your wife is concerned about the surgery, make sure she voices her concerns with both the surgeon & the stimulator company rep prior to surgery. Chances are, the surgeon has done this procedure many many times. From what I've been told, complications are very rare & are mostly minor, such as infection of the surgical site. My Medtronics rep, was really great. He was in the OR the entire time for both the trial surgery & the permanent implant overseeing everything & was able to answer all my questions. He called me 3 or 4 times during my trial to make sure everything was working okay. Although I didn't need to, he was willing to meet me at any time during the trial to adjust or reprogram the stimulator.

I hope all goes well on Monday.


New Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/16/2010 2:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Skeye, I appreciate your response... I'll make sure my wife reads you post! :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 7/16/2010 6:57 PM (GMT -6)   
There are a number of different approaches. If she has questions, I agree with Skeye, she should talk with her surgeon.

The trial is usually very minor, though -- no sedation, no cutting -- just a needle with a hole in the middle through which the leads are fed and the stimulator unit is external. There is a tiny bit of pain, but the worst part of it for me & many people is that your activity levels are very restricted during the trial & for some weeks after the permanent implant in order to make sure the leads get scarred into place & don't move.
Permanent placement is more involved, but that usually takes place at least a couple weeks after the trial leads are placed, and only if the trial was a success (worked, helped reduce her pain, etc.).

best wishes for you & your wife,

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 7/17/2010 2:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I've had my implant since April. I'm still in a lot of pain. It seems to be helping a little, but my implant is the entire length of my spine, it starts at C-3 and then goes all the way down. I think I'm still in a lot of pain due to the fact that so many nerves and stuff were touched and affected when they put the implant in. I've heard so many stories on both sides, whether it works or it doesn't. My only advice is be sure the surgeon has done many of these surgeries and that your wife and you are comfortable with the surgeon and the company rep. Good Luck and keep us posted. I will keep you in my prayers that everything goes well.
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