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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board


Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index


Tazmomo.... Sorry you had such difficulties with the trial. Mine was pretty easy and I too had a fusion of L5/S1 (twice...I didn't fuse the first time so a yr later had an anterior posterior fusion with the rods and screws at the same level. I don't blame you for wanting to go through a fusion again. I was younger at the time, 26 and then and then again at 27. It's been 18 yrs since my back was injured, 15 from the last fusion. My trial was pretty basic..couldn't do much during it because of those pesky wires hanging out of my back - of course they were covered though! So I decided to do the surgery. Apparently many people can not take the sensation you get from it. As you know, it basically is an internal tens unit. If you can't take the sensation, then it won't be for you. If it doesn't bother you then you may get some benefit. It does depend where your pain is how much coverage you'd get from the unit. Where the wires will be placed is what will decide where your coverage is. As far as I was told, there are two ways of anchoring the wires, one is tighter than the other. I had them more anchored in. For whatever reason, the first time I had it done, I was running the unit really high and they weren't sure why. The surgery itself...they totally knock you out and make the incision (which for me is a 6 inch one between my shoulder blades and I think they may have done some of putting the battery in, which is put in the upper buttock area, high enough that you don't sit on it and low enough that waist bands and such doesn't rub in any way. They actually wake you up so you can tell them where you are feeling the sensation...it's kinda strange, but they need to know if you feel it down your legs, your abdomen , sides, where ever. When they figure out exactly how they want the wires, they will knock you back out and finish the surgery. I was in the hospital two days and then went home. Recovery was 6 weeks of doing absolutely nothing. They want the leads to heal in the proper place. You can't put your hand over your head, don't reach, don't lift anything heavier than your dinner plate, no bending. My mother actually can and stayed with my husband and I for a few weeks to help out. I have two young children...at the time my children were only 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 yrs old and it was hard for me because I couldn't pick them up and help them with a lot of things . The area between the shoulder blades took a while for me to feel ok moving them around. About 9 months later, my battery would turn on and off by itself. They thought somehow the magnetic turn on and off part wasn't working right . Not only can you turn it on and off with the hand held unit that you can adjust the programs with, but they give you a supper size magnet so you can turn it on and off easily when needed, you just hold the magnet to the battery and it turns it off or on. So they disabled that, but it was still doing it. I went in the hospital to have the battery replaced. The guy that programs the stimulator was there and punching all the buttons ( they look like they are playing a hand held video game). Anyway, they realized the leads weren't working correctly so I went home so I could return another day to have the entire unit replaced. So the revision surgery they removed the unit and replaced it...adjusting the level of the electrodes so I could get better coverage in my low back and down my legs. I used to use it 24/7, literally. Oh by the way, it will always seem much stronger when lying down, especially during the healing process. I have cut back on the use of it because it got to the point where I couldn't tell the difference if it was on or off. So now it's more an as needed thing. If you think you got some relief and the stimulation sensation doesn't bother you, than perhaps it's a good choice for you. Once implanted you can not go through airport metal detectors, they will give you a card that states why and then you have to have the pat down instead. You also will not be able to go in an MRI machine. Hope the info helps some and good luck with everything.





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