Hi Everyone ! I am a 39 yr. old male who has dealt with chronic back pain for years...After trying all the "conservative" options out there...from physical therapy...to all types of injections and basically every other option I could find or was suggested to me...all of which failed...I decided to try the surgical approach. After seeing neurosurgeons at the 2 top hospitals in my area...I was told that a multi level lumbar fusion (L4/5/S1)would stabilize my spine...HOWEVER...it was very unlikely it would help to eliminate/reduce my pain that travels from my lower back into both of my legs. The surgeons both suggested a spinal cord stimulator since I was considered to be relatively young to start with fusions...basically guaranteeing that I would need another fusion later on if I proceeded at my age. After doing my research I decided to give it a shot. After having a relatively successful 5day trial of the stimulator and being reassured by both my PM doc and neurosurgeon that the permanent set up would be even better... I agreed to have the permanent stimulator implanted.
So I am now 2-1/2 weeks post op and have some concerns...First of all...the paddle type leads were used for the permanent install and not the thin little wire leads... (sorry but I cant remember the name)...problem is that I am a skinny guy...lol...I am 5'-11" & 170pnds...these leads are literally sticking out of my back approx. 1/2"-3/4" !!! Every time I try to sit down its a nightmare to try and not lean on these leads...obviously it hurts like a S.O.B. !! My wife keeps telling me they will get smaller as I heal but I am having great difficulties believing her...Also the generator was placed in the top of my butt cheek and when I try to sit it gets "smushed" upward a bit as the bottom of the generator just catches the chair when I sit...Now for the real problem...this damn thing is not working on the leg pain...I actually think it mains the nerve pain worse ! I have already had the unit reprogrammed and it still is not helping...In order to get any relief I have to turn it up so high the "vibration" takes over everything and makes it hard to function because this is all I feel ! As far as controlling my lower back pain...again...I need to turn it up so high it literally restricts my abilities to function. In addition...I can feel the leads "rubbing" across the back of my ribcage which is very "uncomfortable" to say the very least and they can actually be seen when you look at my back ! I am hoping that I will stop getting "zapped" when I move around and that the generator area will also not be buzzing as bad when the unit is on as I continue to heal up. If anyone has any insight on this it would be greatly appreciated ! I know that its only been 2-1/2 weeks but there has been very little improvement if any with the items I have described...Also if the is any other skinny people out there that has these same issues I would like to hear any suggestions you may have...
After reading your response I realized I left out some of the important details so here goes...
I have a Boston Scientific Precision Stimulator...it has a lifetime rechargeable battery that should never need to be replaced...(only time will tell)...As far as the battery pack/generator goes, it does not really stick out but I think he goofed up and put it to low in my cheek because when I try to sit I can feel the generator "push upwards" against the incision...(the generator was placed entirely below the incision in my cheek).
You are correct...I chose not to have the fusion at this point...I have 3 immediate family members who have all been "fused up" and unfortunately none of them are really any better than before their surgeries.
At my last post-op visit...both the surgeon and the company tech saw the paddles and they down played the whole thing stating " you just had surgery...your still swollen...they will be fine...dont worry about it "...famous last words ! At this point there is virtually no swelling at the lead site and they still stick out like the lumps on a alligators back !! This lump makes it almost impossible to be able to sit down and relax... I see the surgeon again on Thursday and plan to press the issue with him and see what he says because I can not see this being correct and apparently you tend to agree as well (?).
I look forward to hearing from you and I will let you know what happens after my appointment on Thursday.