The SCS actually did work for me. It’s the only thing that’s ever been truly effective for my pain. I did however run into a number of complications. My first SCS leads were percutaneous leads or “spaghetti leads”. They are basically long straight wire electrodes that put into your spinal column. It’s a much less invasive surgery and easier to recover from. That said, it’s less secure. After my surgery I lost 25 pounds rather quickly. With that weight loss, my battery shifted and pulled the leads out of place and my SCS stopped working. I had the leads put back in place but ultimately they moved again.
I then switched to a paddle lead. The paddle is an oar shaped electrode and basically is sewn to your spinal cord. That puppy isn’t going anywhere. Now, there is always chances a paddle could break or move, but if that happens, you’ve probably been involved in some bigger trauma and you’ve got much bigger problems. When my paddle went in February 2013, I immediately had much better coverage than with my perc leads. Unfortunately I got a really bad post-op staph infection. The infection almost killed me. I eventually did recover after many months in the hospital, multiple surgeries, lots of meds, and countless complications.
Back in October 2013 I had the SCS put back in. It’s been awesome and given me a lot of relief. Sadly my CRPS is starting to spread into my shoulder and chest. My SCS really only stimulates my arm, but doesn’t hit my shoulder. I have great coverage from the elbow to my fingers. I may need to get another lead put in in the future to cover the spread of my CRPS.
With all my complications, I still must say, the SCS has been the best treatment for my pain. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but I highly recommend people do a trial. The trial isn’t much more invasive than a routine nerve block and then you know if this is a good treatment option for you. I hope the SCS helps your relative. No one should have to live in pain.