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Implantable neurostimulator for chronic pain

Spine Health | Last Active: Jun 21, 2023 | Replies (334)

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I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted in my back in 2004 after several failed back surgeries (the first doctor was on cocaine when he was doing a per cutaneous dissection). I won't go into the specifics of that but I was diagnosed with PTSD afterwards...it was bad. I was terrified to go back to an Orthopeadic doctor for many years afterward. The doctor I chose had an excellent reputation and he tried everything. I had a foronotomy, a laminectomy. A spinal fusion at L5 S1 level and in between all of that I had 2 spinal fluid leaks. The very first doctor almost severed my sciatic nerve and it never regenerated properly. I had to have a total hip replacement because I was walking incorrectly between the first and my present doctor. My pain management doctor had me on morphine for a full year although I was begging him to take me off of it. Finally off of the morphine the pain was unbearable! He then brought in reps for the stimulator. It initially took some of the pain away, about 25%,but at that point I was willing to try anything. I had the first one put in in 2004. Then I fell in early 2005 and the wires along my spine snapped off. So, I had to have a 2nd one put in. Another nightmare ensued because the pain management doctor did it without any anesthesia or numbing of any kind. My surgeon was absolutely furious after all that I had already been through. The representatives from Medtronic stimulator met with us several times to try to improve the outcome. Finally, 2 years ago I gave up on it and turned it on only rarely. Now I haven't turned it on for the past year. I'm on a Fentenayl patch, but still have a lot of break through pain at times. They can remove the battery from my butt, however, the wires are so buried in scar tissue that it would be extremely risky to remove them. I was told I could never have an MRI because the wires are still in my body. Please make very sure that you're getting at least 50% relief from the stimulator during the trial period or you may have the problems that I have. Also, try to find out if your doctor is being paid by the company to push the product. It happens quite often. Good luck with whichever you decide to go.

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Replies to "I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted in my back in 2004 after several failed back..."

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sorry to hear that you have been through so much.