Neurostimulator Lead Reposition and More

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/12/2010 12:07 PM (GMT -6)   
What a wonderful site and forum. I read through a lot of posts but since were so many topics and a lof of the posts were form 2008, I hope it's OK to start another one. This will be from a different perspective in that my wife is the person with the neurostimulator. I'll gladly share a few comments and pose a couple of questions. I'm sure she will be joining up as well. She has three degenerative discs in her lower back and had been on combinations of drugs (Vioxx, Oxy and more over the years).

She had a Medtronics unit with percutaneous leads implanted about 21 months ago. The trial went well as did the surgery. For all new users, don't panic if you don't get relief right away. They tried to program the unit as my wife was in recovery and she just could not put up with it and got all upset as she felt it was not working. The Medtronics Rep suggested she give it a week and let them try again. This gave her body a chance to "calm down"and sure enough, they were able to get few good programs in that worked well. She went back a month later and had them tweak it and again at 6 months. Each time her relief was greater.

On a bad day she was 50% better and on a good day 80-90%! We went on a walking program 5 times a week at 2.5mi per day. She was even able to go hiking in the mountains on vacation. She typically runs two (for lower back and left leg) programs 24hrs/day. Unfortunately, about a month ago she took a fall and lost most of her relief. Medtronics once again modified the programs, got her a bit more relief but that was it. Unfortunately, an X-Ray showed the position of the leads had now changed (perhaps due to a fall or a moderate weight loss over the last few months...who knows. Questions:

1. She is soon to be scheduled back in to have the leads "repositioned". What does this entail? Just a couple of punctures to insert the hypodermics like when they positioned the leads at trial or a full incision like when they implanted the unit? i found no description of this anywhere.

2. If the latter, since it has been running so much, should we ask that the battery be replaced at the same time? Maybe even reposition the unit as it actually protrudes a bit (due to the weight loss?).

3. Do you think there are newer/better units out there? I read a lot on here about some people recommending Boston Scientific. Not sure if Insurance would even consider letting us swap but I thought I'd ask.

I will say that the Medtronics field support has been great. Anytime she has needed a tweak or someone to talk to, their Rep has been able to meet her within 48 hours at the PM office, free of charge.

Thanks and good luck to all!

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 8/12/2010 3:05 PM (GMT -6)   


    Charbear, Please keep checking this post, as it takes a while for the right members to reply.

I see that you just logged on this afternoon again, and did not want you to be dissapointed with no replys yet.


"Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it."

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 487
   Posted 8/13/2010 2:51 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Charbear:

Welcome to HW. I have a Medtronics SCS too, and I have had to have leads repositioned due to a fall as well, and it requires an incision. It was near the time that I would have needed a new battery, so they did replace the battery as well. I don't know anything about the Boston Scientific, only what I've read here on the forum, so I can't advise you on that.

If there is any other questions I can answer for you, I would be happy to. I hope that your wife recovers quickly and the amount of relief she was getting is restored.


New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/13/2010 7:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Lorie. Sounds like the procedure was not too far from the initial installation? If they don't replace the battery, I guess they still have to make a sizeable incision to get to where the leads attach to the unit? We were hoping that perhaps they would just use a procedure similar to what they did for the trial which was a small incision or two (don't recall) to "grab" and reposition the leads.

Thanks again and I hope others can comment. We would be glad to answer any questions others may have as well.
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