Spinal Cord Stimulator: The Procedure

Preparing for the Spinal Cord Stimulator trial was much like any other surgery I’ve gone through; no food after midnight, nothing to eat or drink the day of the procedure.

If you are  considering Spinal Cord Stimulator you may have researched how the procedure goes, if not here is a quick once over. With a typical Spinal Cord Stimulator you are awake and given light anesthesia and while you are conscious they insert the leads into your back and up you spinal cord. You are wake to give input on the lead location and when the are in position to effect your symptoms. That part intimidated me a bit. The Nevro Spinal Cord Stimulator HF 10 allows the doctor to put you deeper under anesthesia, as I was told if the needed to ask me anything they could but I wouldn’t have any memory of the procedure.

The procedure took longer than expected, there was significant bleeding that prolonged things. They needed the bleeding to stop so I remained in a prone position for long time and is a painful for even short periods. The bleeding makes it more likely the leads could move. They added a few sutures to help prevent the leads from moving.

Waking up in the recovery room it felt like I had a surgery. The trial procedure was described a ‘slightly move invasive than an injection.’ That was not at all the case for me. It felt like I had been through much more than an injection. Over the years I have had various types of injections: 2 epidural, 2 Caudal, 1 Trigger Point to the Piriformis and 1 SI Joint (Sacroiliac Joint), so I’m not new to having injections. This was on a whole other level of pain.

We met with the Nevro Rep and he went over the limits and expectations of the device trial. Then we discussed the communication process and what our routine would consist of the next week or so. Our correspondence would consist of daily calls, feedback and and adjustment of the device.

The Limits: The Spinal Cord Stimulator trial comes with many limits. No Bending, No Lifting, No Twisting. It was recommended I wear the Abdominal Binder the entire trial to minimize the risk of the leads moving due to the bleeding during the procedure.

I went home that night in significant pain, it was surprising to me the how much pain I was in, I got home feeling more like a had a minor surgery. I had wished the gave me something for the pain, my days are already filled with enough pain. Wearing an abdominal binder,  an electrical pulse generator strapped to my chest and all kinds of wires coming out of me and taped to my body, made everything difficult. Getting into the car without bending isn’t easy and every bump in the road hurt where my wires exited my body.

The day ends with no improvement in my symptoms, but that was to be expected. Sleep will be difficult given the way I feel. I am cautiously optimistic.

The Nevro Device is set on P1-5*

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