New with questions about Medtronic Stimulator

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New Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/23/2011 11:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all.  I am new to this forum and I apologize up front if this has been asked before.  I am on this sight researching for my mother.  She has spinal stenosis between L1 and L2, L4 and L5.  She has bulged discs around the stenosis and fluid sacs and pinched nerves.  Now her family doctor wants her to get surgery right away to get the stenosis removed.  But her surgeon said that with her only being 48 that he doesn't want to do it until she falls and can't get back up because it will be 3 month recovery and she would have to re have the surgery about every 2 years.  She is terrified of having this surgery.  But she is starting to lose sensation in her legs and having bad pain in her legs and thinks falling and not getting up is coming soon.  So now that I gave a little history on her, here is my question.  For all people who have gotten a medtronic stimulator for CP, is there any way that this is something that could help her?  From what I know it is a lot less invasive surgery then what she needs and she can keep going for awhile without the surgery.  Now she plans on discussing this with her surgeon but I was just hoping for maybe some information or stories or anything anyone has to share. Also if anyone can give me any information on the surgery and risks themselves that would be great. Thanks in advance for any tips or stories or any help at all.

Post Edited (trinxie) : 5/23/2011 10:34:29 PM (GMT-6)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9258
   Posted 5/24/2011 1:06 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Trinxie~

And welcome to the CP forum. I'm sorry your mother is so miserable and is facing possible back surgery. I have a collapsed disk at L5/S1 so I can understand some of the pain she endures. I talking to the orthopedic surgeon who did several surgeries on my hands. He discourages people from this type of surgery because the problem just returns and has to be redone.

With the stenosis I'd be a bit more worried though. Two, get a second opinion. Have her visit a different doctor...not one in the same office...and get another viewpoint. And the second one is following on those lines. I would get her to a university/teaching hospital that is closest to you. These facilities are on the cutting edge of medicine and don't push you aside if it's hard to figure out. At the top of the Topics list is one called Chronic Pain 101. In there is a link to lists of teaching/university hospitals. Here's the link so you won't have to search for it.

You can call them at the number listed on their sites and tell then what you need. They will link you up with one of their physicians/surgeons who can help you deal with this problem. I hope something helps and your mother can get on with her life. She's way too young to have so much pain. Also, invite you to come join us. This is a very friendly and caring group of people who are willing to share their experiences and honest concern.

Moderator on the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain forums
Daily Donnybrook: Fibromyalgia, Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Ulcerative Colitis, Rare form of Dermatitis, Collapsed Disk, Osteoarthritis (especially in right hand and neck) and a couple of other adjunct agitations.
Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.

New Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/24/2011 10:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for your quick reply. My mothers family doctor is the one pushing for her surgery. But her surgeon is trying to push it off. He doesn't want to do it unless it is absolutely necessary. I like the idea of taking her to a teaching hospital and I'm sure she wouldn't be opposed, the only problem I can see with that is her insurance. Her insurance isn't great and all the teaching hospitals I'm sure are out of her network. But it will be a consideration especially if this surgeon is totally against the neurostimulator. Her brother had many failed neck surgeries and got to try the trial of the stimulator which is where we got the idea from. Again I appreciate any information and thanks for the teaching hospital link. I think I will give them a call just to find out what I can. Thanks again.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 636
   Posted 5/24/2011 7:57 PM (GMT -6)   
In my experience, my Orthopedic dr and Neurosurgeon wanted to wait for the "Fusion" surgery for as long as possible. I was 34 with my first fusion. I was to the point of falling daily, loss of functions, and tingling all over. It is a pretty bad surgery to put it nicely, I wouldnt wish it on anyone. I am actually scheduled again in 3 weeks, what fun this will be. Mine is being redone because of poor screw placement and non union (no bone grew to hold everything together).

The spine needs to be relatively stable for a SCS (neurostimulator). This is usually (not always) done as a last resort after surgery and meds cant cover the pain. My plan was for a SCS but when they saw the instability and failed fusion we had to change plans for now.

Has your Mom been in contact with a pain management doctor. That would be the person who gets her thru the next couple years till she agrees to have surgery.

I cant say I regret doing the surgery, because if I didnt have the surgery 3 years ago, I would likely be in a wheelchair by now. I am hoping that having this mess fixed next month will at least keep me on my feet for a few more years.

Give your Mom a hug from me. Being young and in these positions is very frustrating to say the least.
DX: CRPS/RSD full body, Fibro, CP, DDD, DJD, OSA, Syringomyelia, Arachnoiditis, failed fusion non union with hardware issues. Fusions C5-6, L5-S1. SCS trial successful awaiting placement after fusion revison 6/11.
MEDS:Fentanyl Patch 25 & 12.5 mcg, Fentora 100mcg, Oxyfast 10mg, Morphine Sulfate 15mg, AtacandHCT32/12.5mg, Clonidine, Zofran.

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 5/25/2011 4:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello trinxie!

Welcome to the CP forum!

I just wanted to stop by and comment that Shell74 has given you some pretty good advice. I have had a double lumbar fusion surgery, and now suffer the dreaded failed back syndrome (FBS)

Do as Chutz recommended, and please get a second opinion when dealing with something as serious as this. I think if I had the option of a "Pain Pump" or the "Stimulator"...I would opt for the pain pump....but again it too!... would be a last resort, if all other med's were not working anymore. oh!....and another suggestion!.....please feel free to use the "Search" button in the upper righthand of this page. There are lots! and lots!....of post from members about the "Stimulator".....I'm willing to bet you will find more than enough information on this very it has been covered extensively here.

Were glad you found this site, and it is very admiral of you to help advocate care for your mother.

Please visit us as often as you wish. We are a chronic pain support group, and the members here are the best on the web, in doing so.

Take care!

SE wink
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

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Post Edited (Screaming Eagle) : 5/25/2011 3:52:26 AM (GMT-6)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16799
   Posted 5/25/2011 8:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Trinxie, I too would like to welcome you to Healing Well's chronic pain forum. Wow, it does sound like your Mom has a lot going on with her back right now and no wonder she is in a lot of pain.

One thing I wanted to point out to you is spinal stenosis is narrowing. It is very common for people to end up with pinched nerves or compressed nerves when they have spinal stenosis too. Many times if a nerve is left alone and not taken care of by way of surgery, the person can end up with permanent nerve damage.That is the downside to not doing anything with nerve involvement. I know of some people that waited too long to have surgery and both walk dragging one of their legs, this is after surgery and their pain is the same it never got better.

I would get a second opinion with the very best neurosurgeon I could find. I would go to a neurosurgeon simply because they are more educated with the nerves in the body, this is their specialty whereas with an orthopedic surgeon, his expertise is with the bony structures. If she did not have any nerve involvement I could understand leaving things alone for now, but that is not what I am reading.

The SCS Unit will not cure your mom's problem, if she has a successful trial, it will be like putting a bandaide over the problem. I would encourage you to do a search here at the forum on stimulators as they have been discussed many times here by people that actually have the units.

Please keep us posted on how your mom is doing and better yet, perhaps you can get her to come join us too. Take care.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

New Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/25/2011 9:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks everyone for all the kind words and advice. Though straydog just told me the one thing I was worried about. I was wondering if that was the case but I was having problems finding that answer. It's kind of hard to remember to ask all the things I wanted answered for her lol. I'm not sure if she has been to a pain management doctor or not. I know they have tried all different kinds of medications and they all work for awhile but then start to lose effect. I have already discussed with her about going to the teaching hospital closest to us as we already know it is a great hospital. It is a 2 hour drive but well worth to get the correct answers. Being paralysed is the one thing she fears the most which is why she really doesn't want to have the surgery. It's like she says, "As of right now I can walk. I want to make sure that if I have this surgery that it is going to be worth it and not just make my condition worse." I totally understand where she is coming from. Back surgery is a very major thing to be messing with and it can change the whole rest of your life. Maybe in a good way and maybe bad. Again I appreciate all the information and will continue to relay all this information to her. I will also use the search and see what all information I can come up with. I appreciate all the help so far and will continue to update on her decisions. Thanks again so much to all.
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