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I have continous back pain inspite of having two failed surgeries and pain medications

Nov 2013
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Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 5293 Questions
Yes, please. I am a victim of failed back surgery. I had the first in November 2010 and six weeks later another in December 2010. I had a metal put in my lower back which did not help my chronic sciatic nerve pain. The pain keeps me from living a life. I am forced to spend about 85% of my time in bed between the sciatic and back pain. I am on pain meds that I am going to have to have upped now. My questions is about the implanted spinal cord stimulator. My doctor said I have three options: do nothing, have a rod surgicial put in my back or a spinal cord stimulator. He said the odds are only about 50% that it will work. What is your option about the SCS? I have read so many really terrifying comments about the SCS. Failed leads, failed unit, replacement painfully surgery, infections etc. I would appreciate your thoughts? I should also tell you I have no one to help me. After the last two surgeries I was promised home health care which never came. I don't trust that any further helped I needed would be available. Thank you very much, XXXXXXX
Posted Tue, 11 Mar 2014 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 13 minutes later
Brief Answer: Spinal cord stimulator is a good option. Detailed Answer: Hi Ms XXXXXXX Thank you for posting your query. I have noted your case details, and it is unfortunate that you have had two failed back surgeries. Moreover, the pain medications have also not helped you. At this stage, spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is a good option for you. I agree that the success rate varies from 50-70%, however, it is a good success rate. This is because in chronic pain treatment, most have similar or even lower success rates. Regarding complications or adverse effects of SCS, they are a bit exaggerated. In my experience, they are reasonably safe, if done by an experienced surgeon and taken good care of. In the meanwhile, you can take pregabalin or gabapentin capsules for pain relief. I hope my answer helps. Please get back if you have any follow up queries or if you require any additional information. Wishing you good health, Dr Sudhir Kumar MD (Internal Medicine), DM (Neurology) XXXXXXX Consultant Neurologist Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, India Click on this link to ask me a DIRECT QUERY: My BLOG:
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Follow-up: I have continous back pain inspite of having two failed surgeries and pain medications 4 hours later
Thank you for your very quick response. I am concerned over the 50 - 70% success rate. If I was given those odds for another type of surgery I would say they were not very good for example heart surgery or back surgery. All the comments I quoted were from actual patients who had the SCS implanted with a few having good results. I read the comments from three or four different websites such as webmd,, etc. If I may ask, how many SCS have you implanted. Have you had to replace any leads and how many. Did any of them just fail. How long does the Boston Scientific SCS last before it has to be replaced assuming everything goes well. Thank you, XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 6 hours later
Brief Answer: My replies are below. Detailed Answer: Thank you for getting back. What I meant was that 50-70% people have relief from pain, and not that the rest have complications from SCS. About 10 of my patients have SCS, and 5 have had good relief from pain, and 2 had only partial relief. three of them did not have any relief. This gave a figure of 50-70% success rate. None of them failed requiring replacement of leads. One person had developed infection, which responded to a course of antibiotics. I hope it helps. Best wishes, Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology)
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: I have continous back pain inspite of having two failed surgeries and pain medications 18 hours later
Thank you! Yes, the info helps. I forgot to tell you I have degenerative disc disease also. My xrays show a lot of curvature of the spine. Would that present a problem with the SCS? Also, thank you for the info about gabapentin. I had stop taking it and am going now back on it. Thank you, XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 4 hours later
Brief Answer: Degenerative disc disease would not be a problem. Detailed Answer: Thank you for getting back. The degenerative disc disease and curvature of spine would not be a problem with SCS. Gabapentin is worth using once more. Best wishes, Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology)
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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