A Spinal Cord Stimulator, or SCS for short, is kind of like a pacemaker, only instead of regulating the heartbeat, it gives off a gentle electrical stimulation or vibration that takes the place of their pain. A lot of times, they are used as a last resort after other methods of pain control, or other treatments have failed. If you've ever used a TENS unit, it kind of feels like that, only everything is internal instead of external. If you haven't, the best way I could explain it would be is that it kind of feels like sitting in a massage chair.
There are 3 major companies who make the stimulators right now: Boston Scientific, Medtronics, and St Jude. I have St Jude. Most of the people I know who have them have Medtronic models. They all work on the same principal though. My original implant was done in October 2004 and was done with a non-rechargeable system that was supposed to last 3 to 5 years. Two yearrs, 2 months, and 2 weeks later, it died, so I was put on the list to have it replaced, which is called a revision. Four months later, I finally had my revision done. This time, I got a new type of system that allowed me to recharge the battery when it started to go low and it had a longer life-span, 8 to 10 years. I had that revision done on my hubby's birthday, January 16, 2007. :) A year later, I had to have a revision done on the lead wires that run from the battery to the wires in my spinal cord because one of them had quit working, so I had that done. And now, 5 years later, here I am, recovering from another battery revision, but this time, there is another, better system. During the surgery, the doc makes a little pocket, using the person's body fat, to tuck the battery into. Today, part of my surgery was to repair the pocket because I've lost 105 pounds over the last couple of years and the pocket the last battery was in was way too large to hold the battery and it was resting up against a bone, which was causing more pain instead of helping, like it was supposed to.
This time the battery is even smaller than the last one I had. I thought my last one was small compared to my first one, but this one seems really tiny in comparision. :D The charging system is also a lot different. Before, I would have to plug everything into the wall, then use the antenea over the battery and stay in one spot until everything was charged fully. Now, I can charge up the charger, unplug it, put it in a special belt I can wear, and I can go do errands or wander around the house while I charge, which will be really nice.
Here are a few photo's so you can get familiar with what I am talking about. :0)
This is the same as the first battery I had.
These are the type of leads that I have. I have 2 of these. The first set I had only had 4 contact (nodes) on each on, but when I had the revision done, they switched them to 8 node leads, which allows for more programming options.
This is the second battery I had. There really wasn't much of a size difference between the first and second batteries, but the fact that one was rechargeable and the other wasn't, was a big difference for me
And finally, the Eon Mini. You can't tell from the photo's, but this one is actually half the size of the one above it.
So, that is the basics about the SCS. If you want to learn more about the St Jude SCS, I have a included a link for you here. Or please feel free to send me an e-mail or leave me a comment and I'll answer any questions you have about them, that is, if I know the answer to it. :)
Do you suffer from chronic pain yourself? Do you care for someone who suffers from chronic pain or do you know someone who suffers from chronic pain? If so, don't ever be afraid to ask for support. I know of and belong to several great online support groups and would be happy to give you links, at your request. :0)
As always, thank you for spending a little of your time with me. Huggles!